Two Department of Public Safety troopers are credited with helping to stop a suspect who kidnapped a man before shooting and attempting to carjack multiple drivers on Interstate 17 Monday night.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Jonathan Howard said the 31-year-old suspect initially contacted the first victim, a 22-year-old man, near 35th Avenue and Indian School Road. The suspect held the victim at gunpoint and demanded he drive him to Mexico.
As the pair were driving on southbound I-17, they began to struggle over the gun, and collided with dividers along the freeway at least two times before becoming disabled in the HOV lane. Howard said the victim was able to escape without injury.
The suspect attempted to steal at least three additional vehicles at gunpoint while in the southbound lanes.
He reportedly opened the door to a healthcare van carrying two passengers, and shot the 53-year-old driver. The victim was able to drive away and was later contacted by police at I-17 and Grant Street, where he stopped for assistance. He was transported from the scene with non-life threatening injuries.
Howard said the suspect then attempted to steal a second vehicle, occupied by a 43-year-old man and his wife. The couple were able to drive away as the suspect opened fire. The vehicle sustained gunshot damage, but neither of the victims were injured.
The suspect then jumped onto the hood of a third vehicle, driven by a 21-year-old and his girlfriend. With the armed suspect on the hood, the victim continued driving southbound on I-17 as the suspect shot at him. His car collided with the initial vehicle the suspect had stolen and crashed.
Howard said the victim was taken to a nearby hospital with critical but non-life threatening injuries.
As the suspect continued to attempt to steal vehicles on the freeway, he was confronted by DPS troopers. The troopers shot at the suspect, striking him and ending the ongoing incident.
He was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries but is expected to survive, Howard said. No troopers were injured in the altercation.
Phoenix Police are investigating the series of incidents, while DPS is investigating the incident internally.