Surveillance photos released of persons of interest in deadly Avondale shooting

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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer
By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer
By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer
Sheriff's deputies are searching for the person who shot and killed a 28-year-old who was driving a pickup truck in Avondale early Friday morning. By Catherine Holland Sheriff's deputies are searching for the person who shot and killed a 28-year-old who was driving a pickup truck in Avondale early Friday morning. By Catherine Holland
Sheriff's deputies are searching for the person who shot and killed a 28-year-old who was driving a pickup truck in Avondale early Friday morning. By Catherine Holland Sheriff's deputies are searching for the person who shot and killed a 28-year-old who was driving a pickup truck in Avondale early Friday morning. By Catherine Holland

AVONDALE -- Sheriff's deputies are searching for the person who shot and killed a 28-year-old who was driving a pickup truck in Avondale early Friday morning.

It happened after midnight at 107th Avenue and Indian School Road.

According to investigators, it started as some kind of argument at a Chevron gas station that then spilled out on to 107th Avenue.

The victim has been identified as Luis Valenzuela.

Two other people, reportedly Valenzuela's cousins, were also in the pickup truck. They were not hurt.

One of those passengers told 3TV that they were buying beer when three other young men -- possibly as young as 16 -- tried to engage them in an argument. The passenger said he and his cousins ignored the other trio, who were also buying beer, and left the store. As they pulled out on to 107th Avenue, bullets started flying.

Rick Bell, a witness, said he heard several gunshots.

"You could hear a vehicle wreck after the gunshots were fired, " Bell said.

The pickup crashed into a ditch.

Valenzuela had been shot in the head. He died at the scene. His family, many of whom were at the site of the shooting all morning, tells 3TV Valenzuela had four children, two with his girlfriend, Kristin Reider.

"My children lost their father for no reason," Reider said. "I want these people caught. There was no reason for it. He didn't do anything. ... And now that's something my kids have to live with, because people wanted to be cool or thought they were cool with a gun ...."

Investigators are talking to the two passengers as they try to piece together exactly what happened. While one of the passengers said the suspects were driving a white Nissan Maxima, no details about the shooters were immediately available.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, which is handling the investigation, released surveillance photos from the gas station in hopes of tracking down the persons of interest in the photos or the vehicle.  Anyone having information on seeing this vehicle or either of these people is asked to contact Det. P. Smith S1189 at 602-876-4842 or the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office 602-876-1011 reference Case Number 10-048733.