Three teenagers have been arrested for using slingshots to fire objects at vehicles and pedestrians in what authorities are mimicking a string of Arizona vehicle shootings. However, authorities say Saturday’s incident is not linked to the state’s recent string of freeway shootings, Fox News reports.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that the three 18-year-olds admitted to shooting at several cars during a four-hour time period.They also admitted to shooting at six pedestrians at State Route 24 and Ellsworth Road, according to Nation Now.
The teens shattered a couple’s car window with one of their rocks. “The victims were smart enough to get the license plate of the vehicle that pulled up alongside,” Arpaio said. The victims’ observations led to the arrests of the teens.
Though Saturday’s incident was serious, Arpaio separated it from the other 11 confirmed incidents of vehicles that have been hit by projectiles or bullets on the freeways in Arizona. “We feel that this is probably a copycat,” Arpaio said.
The Mesa Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety joined together to investigate. They found the teenagers’ car in a Chandler neighborhood. The teens were identified as Aaron Nottingham, Christian Cook and Albert German.
All three teens are facing charges of endangerment, criminal damage and assault, according to CBS News. And another 18-year-old is being investigated regarding the attack.
Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said that the teens were booked on criminal damage and conspiracy as well. “What the kids were doing last night was absolutely lethal,” Milstead said. He added that the incident is “serious” and that “none of this fun and games.”
More than 10 vehicles have been shot from central Phoenix to five miles west of downtown since Aug. 29, Nation Now reports. Only one person, a 13-year-old girl, has been injured, but it is unclear whether she was hit by a projectile or if she was hurt due to debris from the attack.
Police said that eight of the vehicles were hit with bullets and three were hit with “other projectiles.” Police failed to comment on the type of weapons or ammunition used in any of the attacks.