Since August, the highways around Phoenix, AZ have been the target of an unknown sniper or perhaps even snipers. So far, there have been 11 shootings with no suspect or description identified. Although there have been on fatalities or serious injuries, residents are terrified as bullets rip through car windows or hit their vehicles. So far, the only injury reported was that of a 13-year-old girl whose ear was cut by flying glass from a car window as a bullet barely missed striking her head. The stretch of highways that have been under attack by the unknown sniper includes I-10, which runs east to west and I-17, which stretches from north to south.
Col. Frank Milstead of Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) warned, “It is just a matter of time, if this behavior continues, that we will have tragedy on our roadways.” The level of fear is similar to that which hit the Washington, DC area in October 2002. During the DC attacks 10 people were killed and three suffered critical injuries at the hands of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. The pair were dubbed the Beltway Snipers and spawned both a major Hollywood production and TV movie. Muhammad was executed by lethal injection in 2009 and Malvo currently is serving 5 consecutive life sentences.
In response to what Col. Milstead has called acts of “domestic terrorism” a vigilante group calling itself Bolt Force has started armed patrols in a eight mile area where attacks have occurred. The group’s leader is identified as Tony Rowley, aka “Bolt” and he stated they have informed the FBI, the Phoenix PD, and ATF about their patrols. Rowley and Bolt Force wear tactical military gear and is made up of former soldiers, bounty hunters and security personnel. The group also patrols the streets of Phoenix and has chapters in other cities including Durban, South Africa. So far, local law enforcement officials have not issued any negative comments about the group or its motives. For now, the hunt is still on for the person or persons responsible for the attack.