Phoenix police are leaving no tip behind, regardless of how small, as they look for a suspect they think is responsible for a string of shootings in and around Phoenix. They’re offering a substantial reward for the arrest of the shooter, now known as the “Phoenix Serial Killer.”
CNN reports that the same shooter who already killed seven people struck again on July 11. The suspect shot at a 4-year-old boy and his 21-year-old father, but fortunately, neither one were hit. The father and son were sitting inside a vehicle in a residential area of Phoenix when the suspect targeted them.
Police decided to wait a little less than a month to reveal the latest shooting because they were connecting the evidence of the incident with other shootings. At first, they didn’t link the father-and-son shooting to the serial killer, according to Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard.
“It took awhile for investigators to connect the evidence and witness information to draw the conclusion that this incident was linked to the serial shooter.”
All of the shootings took place in low-income residential areas of Phoenix, specifically the Maryvale neighborhood, near the west side, that runs from 35th Avenue west to 87th Avenue. The community has been plagued with violence, drugs, and gang activity since the early 1980s.
Police state that the shootings appear to happen at random, with “no apparent motive, no pre-incident contact.” The majority of victims were shot while standing outside of their home. The shooter’s gun of choice appears to be a semi-automatic handgun.
The first two attacks happened within a day of each other. The first shooting occurred on March 17, when a teenage boy, 16, was injured while walking home at around 11:30 p.m., followed by another shooting the next night, when a 21-year-old man was wounded.
On April 21, the first fatal shooting occurred when 21-year-old Diego Verdugo-Sanchez was killed while standing outside of a home off of 55th and Turney avenues. ABC 15 reports that the suspect drove by, fired shots while still inside the vehicle, and sped away. No one could identify the suspect and there were no known motives.
On April 19, 55-year-old Krystal Annette White was found dead on the side of the road, close to 32nd Street and Van Buren Street. Police discovered her during a welfare check after neighbors heard gunshots.
A month went by with no linked shootings, but June proved to be the Phoenix serial killer’s most gruesome month. On June 3, Horacio Pena was shot and killed while walking to his car, followed by a June 10 shooting that led to the death of 19-year-old Manuel Castro-Garcia.
On June 12, 31-year-old Angela Linner and 12-year-old Maleah Ellis were at a home near 63rd Avenue and McDowell Road when they were both shot and killed. Stefanie Ellis, 33, was also shot, but survived the attack. Neighbors told police that they heard at least nine rounds go off, followed by a male fleeing in a light-colored vehicle. Later on that day, the suspect shot at an unoccupied vehicle, but no injuries were reported.
It’s likely that the shooter knows the Maryvale area extremely well, according to CNN law enforcement analyst Art Roderick. He also appears to be picking “targets of opportunity,” since there is no clear link or match in age, race, or gender.
“The victims’ age range — it’s from teenagers to the elderly, male, female. So he’s just picking targets of opportunity, random individuals outside their homes at night.”
The suspect is described as a light-skinned Latino male or a Caucasian male in his 20s. He’s “lanky” and stands under 5 feet 10 inches. He likely has access to different vehicles, but according to witness statements, “the two best described are a white Cadillac or Lincoln type vehicle and a black late 90’s or early 2000’s 5 Series BMW.”
The Phoenix Police Department and the FBI are offering a combined $50,000 reward for information that leads to the capture and arrest of the Phoenix serial killer. Contact the Phoenix Police Department Violent Crimes Bureau at 602-261-6141 or Silent Witness at 480 W-I-T-N-E-S-S if you have any information.
[Image via Phoenix Police Department]