(Arizona has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country. You can open carry without a permit and you can concealed carry without a permit. You can also carry loaded weapons in your vehicles without a permit. There are no state permits issued to own weapons and no registration laws. There is also no state-wide ban on “assault” weapons. After 11 shooting incidents starting on Aug. 29th, there have been no fatalities and no serious injuries. Seems like someone is turning up the fear factor in support of folks like these. Now their
patsy prime suspect apparently has evidence that his gun has been in a pawn shop since a month before the shootings began. Officials decided to swoop in on him in the middle of a Wal-Mart so they could make a big show out of it and garner the maximum “shock and awe” factor they could for the public.)
from the AP
A landscaper who is the suspect in a series of Phoenix freeway shootings told a judge Saturday that authorities have “the wrong guy” and he hasn’t even been in possession of a gun for two months.
Leslie Allen Merritt Jr., 21, was charged with counts including aggravated assault, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, carrying out a drive-by shooting and intentional acts of terrorism. In a brief court appearance, the prosecutor said he presents a danger to the community after drivers spent the last three weeks on edge.
“The suspect presents a dramatic and profound threat to the community,” the prosecutor said.
Judge Lisa Roberts set bail at $1 million, and Merritt asked to speak to the court.
“All I have to say is I’m the wrong guy. I tried telling the detectives that. My gun’s been in the pawn shop the last two months. I haven’t even had access to a weapon,” he said.
Merritt was arrested at about 7 p.m. Friday after a SWAT team swarmed him at a Wal-Mart in the suburb of Glendale. Minutes later, Gov. Doug Ducey took to Twitter to proclaim “We got him!” and the head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety held a news conference to outline the four shootings detectives linked to Merritt.
Merritt was behind the shootings of a tour bus, an SUV and two cars on Interstate 10 on Aug. 29 and 30, said DPS director Frank Milstead. No one was injured. Eleven cars in all were hit while driving along Phoenix freeways starting Aug. 29.
“Are there others out there? Are there copycats? That is possible,” said Milstead. He said the investigation continues.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the suspect’s father was adamant that his son had nothing to do with the shootings and anyone who says he was involved is a “moron.”
Leslie Merritt Sr. said he believes his son is being made a scapegoat by police who were desperate to make an arrest under immense public pressure.
“He has way too much value for human life to even take the slightest or remotest risk of actually injuring someone,” the elder Merritt said of his son.
He said his son worked as a landscaper and likes guns but is not a criminal.
[read more here]