Prosecutor: Teen Held In Highway Shootings - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/25/06-Seymour, IN

Prosecutor: Teen Held In Highway Shootings

A 17-year-old was being held Tuesday as a suspect in a series of highway shootings that killed one man, wounded another and damaged at least four vehicles, a prosecutor said.

Zachariah Blanton was facing preliminary charges of murder, attempted murder and criminal recklessness, prosecutor Stephen Pierson said.

A judge on Tuesday afternoon said he had found probable cause to issue an arrest warrant for Blanton, who was being held at the Jackson County jail.

The teen's great-aunt, Denise Blanton, told The Star Press of Muncie that she was shocked by the allegations. "I can't imagine that he would be involved," she said.

Pierson said state police had recovered a rifle they believed was used in the shootings.

The two sniper victims were hit early Sunday as they rode in pickup trucks on Interstate 65 near Seymour, south of Indianapolis. (Details)

About two hours later, bullets struck a moving tractor-trailer and a parked sport-utility vehicle on I-69 in Delaware County, about 100 miles to the northeast. No one was injured in those shootings.

Authorities considered the shootings linked.

The teenager came to the attention of investigators through a call to the State Police Task Force Hotline, WRTV reported.

At a Monday news conference, state police said they alerted agencies in southern and northeastern Indiana after receiving phone tips that the highway sniper or snipers could strike again.

The FBI joined the investigation on Monday as investigators searched fields, overpasses and roads looking for evidence. Detectives from Columbus, Ohio, who helped solve that city's 2003 and 2004 sniper shootings also traveled to Indiana to help.

On Tuesday, a driver in northwestern Indiana reported to the Lake County Sheriff's Department that a man had shot at his vehicle while he was driving to work on a busy street about a mile from Interstate 94. The driver was not injured, and authorities were looking into the report.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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