Suspect on the loose in Phoenix robbery, murder

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A young man who wanted to someday be a policeman was found shot to death inside a mobile phone store where he worked in the southwest Valley. 

Phoenix police said the person who pulled the trigger is still on the loose.

The shooting happened around 7:30 Saturday night at the Boost Mobile store on 51st Ave. just south of Southern Ave.

According to Phoenix Police, a woman came into the Boost Mobile store looking to buy a cell phone but left to call 9-1-1 after finding the store open with seemingly no employees inside.

Phoenix police showed up and found 18-year-old Jose Ruiz shot to death behind the counter. 

"Based upon his location behind the counter [he] was most likely trying to get to a panic button, an alarm button, that they have behind the counter when he was shot to death," said Sgt. Trent Crump of the Phoenix Police Department.

Police said Ruiz was the only person inside the store when at least one suspect walked in to rob the place, killing Ruiz in the process.

Customers showing up at the store on Sunday were shocked to hear of Ruiz's death, describing him as helpful.

"They were closing at 4:00 o'clock so it was maybe last Sunday," said Robert Thomas, a boost Mobile Customer. "I got here at 4:06 or 4:07 and he’d just locked the door and he opened it up and helped me out."

Workers at nearby businesses said they didn't see or hear anything, but an employee at the smoke shop two doors down did see Ruiz outside removing promotional flags shortly before closing - one of the last people to see Ruiz alive.

"We saw him about every day. We haven’t been here very long but he was a very pleasant person and it was a tragedy what happened to him," said Wendy Boreham, smoke shop employee.

Police said Ruiz's parents, grandparents and other family members were at the murder scene most of Saturday night.  They told officers that Ruiz had just graduated high school in May.  He worked two jobs - Boost Mobile and a security guard job - and he someday wanted to be a policeman.

"That someone would do this to him is just absolutely unthinkable," said Sgt. Crump. "It should enrage all of us in the community."

Phoenix Police said they have no suspects and haven't been able to find any security camera video of the crime yet. They want anyone with information to call Phoenix Police or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 1-800-343-TIPS.