July 13, 2016
Phoenix: Serial Killer Suspected In Eight Shootings, Seven Deaths

In Phoenix, Arizona, a serial killer is now suspected in a total of eight shootings and seven deaths. This week, law enforcement officials released a sketch of the suspect, who is believed to be a Caucasian or Hispanic male. According to a statement by the City of Phoenix Police Department, the man is suspected in a series of shootings, which began in March.

Although authorities are "reviewing all incidents that may be related since January 1, 2016," the first known victim of the suspected Phoenix serial killer is a 16-year-old boy.

As discussed in a City of Phoenix Police Department Facebook post, the victim was shot, without provocation, while walking along the 1100 block of East Moreland Street on March 17. Although he was injured in the shooting, the teen survived the violent assault.

The following day, an unidentified 21-year-old man was shot in the 4300 block of N. 73rd Avenue while standing next to his vehicle in the street. Authorities confirmed the victim survived the shooting. However, the man was unable to provide a motive for the attack.

On April 1, the body of Diego Verdugo-Sanchez was discovered outside his home in the 5500 block of W. Turney Avenue. It was later confirmed he sustained at least one fatal gunshot wound.

On April 19, Krystal Annette, 55, was shot and killed in the 500 block of N. 32nd street. Authorities believe her shooting was also unprovoked.

Authorities also believe the suspected Phoenix serial killer is responsible for the shooting deaths of Horacio De Jesus Pena, on June 3, Manuel Castro Garcia on June 10, and Angela Linner, Maleah Ellis, and Stefanie Ellis, on June 12.

Law enforcement officials believe the Phoenix shootings were committed by the same serial killer, as they all appear to be drive-by incidents, perpetrated by the same suspect, without any clear motive.

Serial murders can devastate a community. However, according to the FBI, they are incredibly rare.

As defined by Congress in 1998, "The term 'serial killings' means a series of three or more killings, not less than one of which was committed within the United States, having common characteristics such as to suggest the reasonable possibility that the crimes were committed by the same actor or actors."

The FBI more specifically defines serial murder as "the unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s) in separate events."

The City of Phoenix Police Department is currently seeking any information about the known incidents and any other shootings that may have been committed by the suspect. Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner called for witnesses to contact law enforcement officials with any information they have about the shootings or the suspect.

"Someone out there knows who did this. We need our community to call us or Silent Witness and help us solve these cases, bring justice to these families and victims, and prevent more violence from occurring."
DPS Director Frank Milstead also pleaded with the community to "remain vigilant" and report any suspicious behavior immediately.
"... the cooperative relationship between the community and its police department is most crucial... No fact is too small and no suspicious activity is too slight; if you see something, say something."
The Silent Witness Reward, which received contributions from multiple law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshal's Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, has reached $30,000.In addition to the aggravated assault and homicide, the suspected Phoenix serial killer is being blamed for shooting and damaging an unoccupied vehicle.

Although authorities are attributing eight separate shootings and seven deaths to the suspected Phoenix serial killer, his identity remains unknown and it is unclear whether he has committed other crimes that are unknown at this time.

[Image via City of Phoenix Police Department]