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DPS: Arrest made, Beeline closed after shootings

Posted at 9:20 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 14:22:41-04

Hours after authorities began receiving reports of a motorist traveling the wrong way and shooting at passing cars and law enforcement,  a suspect has been taken into custody, according to Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer Damon Cecil.

Cecil confirmed the news of the suspect's arrest shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday. The suspect is described as a man in his mid-30s and a Phoenix resident. His name was not released.

Multiple agencies, including DPS, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Salt River police, among others, responded to the Beeline Highway (Highway 87) and Shea Boulevard on Tuesday night after witnesses reported someone shooting at passing cars on the freeway.

DPS said two vehicles had been shot and one caught fire because of the gunfire.

The gunman then drove to a convenience store across from Fort McDowell Casino and carjacked someone. The suspect then drove north on Highway 87.

"This was an active shooter situation," said Cecil. At least 5 to 6 vehicles, including a DPS patrol car, were shot. Cecil said they are getting more reports from people who may have been shot, but did not stay at the scene. Troopers are investigating those reports.

Mesa's air unit located the suspect's abandoned vehicle in the desert near milepost 201, said Cecil. The suspect was found a quarter mile away in the fetal position.

Authorities said the suspect was alive, but not responsive and not listening to commands. A K-9 was released and bit the suspect and eventually taken into custody.

He reportedly suffered a minor injury and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Two people were injured in the shootings. One person was "grazed" by a bullet to the head but refused medical treatment.

A second person was shot in the leg and drove to the casino for help. That person's injury is considered to be non-life-threatening.

No officers or troopers were injured. 

Cecil said "multiple rifles", including an semi-automatic AR-15, were found by the suspect's vehicle, along with ammunition and body armor.

DPS is the lead investigative agency. There are numerous other agencies involved. Cecil also focused on the collaboration between all the agencies in this investigation to gather the information and locate the alleged suspect.

ADOT said Wednesday morning that Highway 87 is shut down in both directions between Gilbert Road and SR 188 because of the investigation. Cecil said it will remain shut down for several hours.

Stay with abc15.com, ABC15 Mobile and ABC15 News for updates.

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