Recent Leslie Merritt Jr. arrest may stop him from getting gun returned

Posted at 1:48 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 16:21:07-05

A recent arrest for an order of protection violation may prevent Leslie Merritt Jr. from getting his gun returned after charges against him were dropped in the Interstate 10 freeway shootings case. 

Court documents obtained by ABC15 show that prosecutors have filed a response to Merritt's request for the court to order the Department of Public Safety to return his handgun back to him.

Glendale Police arrested Merritt Jr. on October 26 for allegedly violating an order of protection by reportedly going to the apartment complex and making threats against the person who requested the order of protection and their family.

Merritt Jr. was released on bond for the offense but prosecutors say in the court filing that, "Pursuant to his sentence/release order in that matter Mr. Merritt is 'not to possess any weapons.'" They cite this and the on-going investigation as the reasons why they are petitioning the court to deny Merritt Jr's request to return his Hi-point 9MM handgun. 

Merritt spent months behind bars facing charges connected to a series of shootings along Phoenix-area freeways that caused Valley-wide panic.   

Merritt was released from jail in April after charges against him were dropped when a ballistic expert found the Arizona Department of Public Safety's crime lab had come to a faulty conclusion and noted the bullets from shootings couldn't be "excluded or identified" as having come from Merritt's gun.
Merritt Jr. filed a lawsuit alleging false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and aiding and abetting torturous conduct.