Freeway shooting suspect gives conflicting accounts on gun

Freeway shooting suspect gives conflicting accounts on gun

PHOENIX (AP) – A man charged in metro Phoenix freeway shootings this past summer has provided conflicting accounts on when he pawned a handgun that investigators say was used in some of the attacks.

Leslie Merritt Jr. said during a Sept. 18 police interview that he couldn’t have committed the shootings because his handgun had been sitting in a pawn shop for a month and a half.

But near the end of the interview Merritt said it was pawned in late August.

Authorities say ballistic evidence was used to determine the model of the gun used in the attacks.

They say they found a match when searching pawn shops.

Authorities say they tied Merritt to four of the 11 shootings between Aug. 22 and Sept. 10.

Merritt maintains that he’s innocent.

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Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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