A man killed in a shootout with state Department of Public Safety officers and a security guard on a Tempe freeway Monday morning was suspected in one Phoenix-area killing on Sunday and possibly another earlier Monday, police said.
Tempe police identified the suspect as 25-year-old Andrew Rael.
The gun battle happened after DPS officers used tire-puncturing strips to stop the unidentified man's car on US 60 following a chase on Interstate 10 across much of the Phoenix area, DPS and Tempe police spokesmen said.
The armed security guard got involved after happening upon the scene, said Tempe police Sgt. Mike Pooley. The guard was lucky he didn't get shot because the DPS officers didn't immediately know who he was.
The shooting and subsequent investigation closed the eastbound lanes of US 60 through the morning commute, clogging traffic on other area routes.
After stopping his car on the freeway, the man got out and shot at DPS officers. He got back into the car when the officers and security guard returned fire.
It wasn't immediately known whether man died from their gunfire or shot himself, Pooley said. One DPS officer suffered cuts from flying glass, but no other officers were injured.
The man was sought in the killing Sunday of a tow-truck driver who was found shot to death outside an auto-repair business in Buckeye. "That was our suspect," police Lt. Jarod Griffith said of the man killed in the freeway shooting.
Buckeye police Sgt. Jason Weeks said circumstances of the Buckeye shooting remained under investigation. But he said the car involved in the freeway shooting was not the car that was on the tow truck that witnesses saw being driven away from the Buckeye shooting scene.
The tow truck was found abandoned at another location later Sunday.
Meanwhile, Glendale police said they were investigating whether the man killed in the freeway shooting fatally shot a convenience-store employee early Monday.
Pooley said the description of the Glendale shooter matched the man killed in the freeway shooting.
Glendale police said a 26-year-old store employee was shot in or near the store's doorway following an altercation with an unidentified male customer.
The store employee had confronted the man as he left the store after pumping gas into his vehicle, Officer Tracey Breeden said.