1 killed in drive-by shooting; area known for drug activity

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 6:55 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 2:14 PM

Map: 18th Street and Adams

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PHOENIX -- One person is dead after an early morning drive-by shooting.

It happened at about 2:30 a.m. outside an apartment complex in the area of 18th and Adams streets, which is just southwest of Van Buren Street and Interstate 10 in Phoenix.

According to police, Alan Stewart, 54, and a woman, neither of whom live at the apartment complex, were talking outside when a dark SUV drove by and somebody inside opened fire. Detectives believe between six and 10 shots were fired.

Some of those bullets hit the wall of an apartment, but did not go through.

Stewart was hit, suffering a stomach wound. He was taken to a local hospital where he died on the operating table.

The woman who was talking to the victim was not injured.

"She saw the vehicle drive by, heard the shots," Phoenix police Sgt. Michael Combs said. "She didn't realize they were being shot at, thought maybe it was just shooting in the air. And then the victim fell down and said he'd been shot."

One neighbor said he and his wife heard the gunshots, but thought it was firecrackers.

"You know how you take firecrackers and set a lot of them to fire at the same time? That's the way it went," Louis Stapleton said.

Charles Jones, another resident, said the victim was the maintenance man at the complex, but police have not confirmed that.

While it's not yet clear if this shooting was drug related, police said drug activity is common in this area and officers are called out almost every night.

Last March, a father and son -- Ulises and Parish Ocampo -- were shot and killed in a home invasion in the same neighborhood, just a few  doors down from where Wednesday's shooting took place.

Details in case are scarce. At this point, investigators do not have any suspect information.

"Right now we are wide open on our search for who the suspect of suspects may be," Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson told 3TV's Tess Rafols. "The vehicle, again all we have really is it's a dark SUV. That's what we have to start with."

Investigators are scouring the scene for evidence, but because they have so little to go on, detectives are not sure if the victim was targeted or if this was a random incident.

"We don't know of there was any kind of ongoing dispute," Thompson said. "We're in the process of trying to determine who exactly was involved in this crime and locate those individual and bring them to justice. The field is wide open. We don't want to narrow our search too small because we don't want to bypass a potential suspect or even a potential witness who may have information."

Detectives hope neighbors might know something that can help them. Police have always said that information from the community can be essential when it comes to solving a case like this. Neighbors or witnesses often provide the break investigators need.

If you know anything about this shooting, call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS, 1-800-343-TIPS or 480-TESTIGO. You also can file a report online at Phoenix.gov/police/policereport or SilentWitness.org.

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