3 Mesa teens suspected of firing projectiles at passing vehicles, MCSO says

Ten pedestrians and four vehicles were targeted by three 18-year-olds who fired three-quarter-inch granite landscaping rock with a sling-shot in Mesa and Queen Creek Saturday, Sept. 12, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said.

Mesa residents Aaron Nottingham, 18, Albert German, 18, and Christian Cook, 18, were arrested Sept. 13 and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on charges of assault, endangerment and criminal damage. Another individual, an 18-year-old male, is being investigated on charges related to the event, MCSO said.

Just before 7 p.m. Sept. 12, MCSO received a 911 call where an individual reported his vehicle had been struck by an unknown projectile while in the town of Queen Creek, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at a press conference Sept. 13. The incident followed 11 reported cases of highway incidents that are being investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, according to a MCSO press release.

Sheriff Arpaio said the vehicle driver and passenger, both Mesa residents, reported that they had been stopped at Queen Creek and Ellsworth and when the light turned green, a projectile shattered their rear driver’s side window. The vehicle’s occupants were not injured and were able to identify a passenger vehicle positioned in the lane adjacent to the damaged window. As the vehicle sped away, the victims were able to take pictures of the vehicle and the license plate, MCSO said.

Sheriff’s deputies contacted the Mesa Police Department and discovered that a similar incident had occurred near Ellsworth Road and State Route 24 approximately 10 to 20 minutes earlier. The victim in that situation provided a vehicle and incident description identical to the Queen Creek events. Deputies contacted the Arizona Department of Public Safety and provided the details of the two incidents. Due to the circumstances, all three agencies collaborated on the investigation.

Both DPS Director Frank Milstead and Sheriff Arpaio believe that these acts are the work of copy cats, according to the release.

Sheriff Arpaio praised the victim’s quick actions and notification to the sheriff’s office, which turned into good police work by DPS, Mesa Police and MCSO detectives. Their efforts led to the arrest of three suspects and a continuing investigation, MCSO said.

The suspect vehicle was located in a Chandler neighborhood near Ocotillo and Cooper Road. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Mr. Nottingham, admitted involvement and identified two other suspects: Mr. German and Mr. Cook, MCSO said.

Detectives contacted Mr. German and Mr. Cook in the Mesa area. Both suspects admitted involvement and explained that they had been driving around the Mesa and Queen Creek area sometime last night randomly firing projectiles at pedestrians and vehicles, MCSO said.

According to suspects German, Cook and Nottingham they were using a wrist rocket – sling shot – device to propel ¾-inch crushed granite landscaping rock at approximately 10 pedestrians and four other vehicles. Evidence of the rock was found in the victim’s vehicle, according to MCSO.

 

 

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