Police: Serial killer behind 8 shootings, 7 deaths in PhoenixPosted: Updated:
Police have identified four additional incidents that are believed to be related to a series of unsolved homicides in the Phoenix area.
The Phoenix Police Department has been investigating a string of unsolved homicides that have occurred in west Phoenix over the last several months.
Investigators have reviewed all incidents that could be related to those cases since Jan. 1 and identified one homicide, two aggravated assaults and one criminal damage/shots fired cases that are believed to be connected to the same serial street shooter or shooters, according to Sgt. Jonathan Howard. He said these incidents were already under investigation.
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"Back on June 12 is when we really started to put these together based on some of the anomalies we were talking about -- geography, the victim action, the time of day," Howard said.
The cases have been forensically linked.
The recently identified cases are:
March 17: At approximately 11:30 p.m., a 16-year-old male was shot while walking in the street in the area of 1100 E. Moreland St. His injuries were not life-threatening.
March 18: At approximately 11:30 p.m., a 21-year-old male was shot while standing in the street outside of his vehicle in the area of 4300 N. 73rd Ave. His injuries were not life-threatening.
April 19: At approximately 4:30 a.m., Krystal Annette White, 55, was found dead from apparent gunshot injuries sustained in the area of 500 N. 32nd St.
June 12: At approximately 2:35 a.m., an unoccupied vehicle was shot and damaged in the area of 6200 W. Mariposa Drive.
Police have previously said the following cases are related to the same shooter or shooters:
April 1: At approximately 9 p.m., Diego Verdugo-Sanchez was shot and killed in front of a home in the area of 5500 W. Turney Ave.
June 3: At approximately 9:50 p.m., Horacio De Jesus Pena was shot and killed in front of a home in the area of 6700 W. Flower St.
June 10: At approximately 9:30 p.m., Manuel Castro Garcia was shot and killed in front of a home in the area of 6500 W. Coronado Road.
June 12: At approximately 3 a.m., Angela Linner, 12-year-old Maleah Ellis and Stefanie Ellis were shot and killed in front of a home in the area of 6300 W. Berkeley Road.
Police are not sure if they are dealing with more than one suspect.
"This is the Phoenix Police Department's No. 1 priority right now," Howard said.
Social media is buzzing with the supposition that the suspect in this crime is the same person behind last summer's freeway shootings, but Howard said unequivocally that there is no evidence to make that connection.
Police believe that in each incident the suspect arrived and departed in a vehicle, but that vehicle description has varied from a light-colored sedan to a dark-colored sedan.
Police said a handgun was used during the crimes and the suspect had no known prior contact with the victims.
All of the incidents occurred in residential neighborhoods, many of them in the Maryvale area.
"We want our residents to know about this activity, we want our residents to be alert and aware, at a healthy level, and we want them to watch out for their family, their neighbors and to report any suspicious or unfamiliar activity," Howard said.
Police have released a composite sketch of the shooter as described in one of the incidents.
"Someone out there knows who did this," Chief Joseph Yahner said. "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."
A reward of up to $30,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.
If you have any information about any one of these cases, please call Silent Witness at either 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 1-800-343-TIPS (8477). Spanish speakers may call 480-TESTIGO (837-8446). (Click or tap phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.) You can remain anonymous.
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