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Reward for info in Phoenix freeway shootings raised to $50K

Trooper Craig Martin from Arizona Department of Public Safety patrols Interstate 10 in Phoenix, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. A man questioned in a string of Phoenix freeway shootings is not the prime suspect and investigators are pressing ahead with leads in a case that has left the city on edge for two weeks, authorities said Saturday. (Yihyun Jeong/The Arizona Republic via AP)

Trooper Craig Martin from Arizona Department of Public Safety patrols Interstate 10 in Phoenix, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. A man questioned in a string of Phoenix freeway shootings is not the prime suspect and investigators are pressing ahead with leads in a case that has left the city on edge for two weeks, authorities said Saturday. (Yihyun Jeong/The Arizona Republic via AP)

The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in a string of 11 shootings on Phoenix-area freeways was raised Monday to $50,000.

Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said the reward was increased because lives are at stake and people are terrified.

“I know someone out there knows something and I’m willing to pay for that information,” Milstead said at a news conference.

Many Phoenix drivers have avoided freeways since the shootings began Aug. 29, mostly along Interstate 10, a major route through the city.

Eight of the cars were hit with bullets and three with projectiles that could have been BBs or pellets, authorities said.

There has only been one injury. The ear of a 13-year-old girl was cut by glass as a bullet shattered the window of the vehicle she was riding in.

Authorities have been asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect or suspects, including putting messages on freeway billboards urging people to report suspicious activity.

About 550 of the nearly 1,000 tips received so far are being investigated, Milstead said

The reward was quadrupled on Sept. 8 to $20,000 before being boosted again Monday with the additional money coming from the DPS, Arizona Highway Patrol, Fraternal Order of Police, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies.

Milstead has said the shootings amount to domestic terrorism, but he hasn’t discussed with prosecutors whether a suspect would be charged with terrorism-related crimes.

The charge applies to anyone whose actions incite fear in the state.

Milstead believes the charge could be appropriate for three teenagers who were arrested last weekend after rocks were shot from slingshots and hit a car window in an unrelated case.

“I would think what they’re still doing is terrorism. They’re still inflicting fear on the community,” Milstead said.

A 19-year-old Avondale man who was detained Friday at a convenience store near Interstate 10 remained jailed on a charge unrelated to the freeway shootings.

“We have not completed our investigation into him,” said Milstead, adding that authorities want to know more about the man.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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