A judge ordered Friday that the man named by police as a person of interest in connection with the 11 Interstate-10 shootings outside of Phoenix be released, according to a local television news station. Oscar de la Torre Munoz was never labeled a suspect and was called a person of interest in the case.

Police arrested Munoz Sept. 11 outside a gas station in an undercover operation on an unrelated marijuana charge. Police said Saturday that Munoz was not the prime suspect in the shootings. He was arrested at the time with his mother, who was later released.

 Since Aug. 29, there have been 11 shootings on I-10 and Interstate 17 outside of Phoenix, but no shootings have occurred since Sept. 10. Law enforcement officials increased the reward last week to $50,000 for any information that could lead to an arrest. Of the 1,000 tips police in Phoenix have received, a little more than half of them are actively being investigated.

Some of the shootings involved BBs and pellets rather than bullets, police said. No one has been killed by the shootings, but one teenage girl was injured when a bullet shattered a windshield in the car she was traveling in.

These shootings have also influenced copycats. Three Phoenix teenagers were arrested last week for shooting small projectiles at cars and pedestrians with a slingshot.


Police have not released exactly what type of bullets were used in some of the shootings and have not named any other possible leads in the case. They have also not released if they know whether one or more people are involved. Police said the 11 shootings are still being investigated as of Friday.