Latino group looking to spread the word about serial shooter to Spanish-speaking families

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A group called Somos Independents, an organization led by Mexican-American women, hosted a news conference Friday afternoon to explain how they are contributing to the Phoenix serial shooter investigation. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) A group called Somos Independents, an organization led by Mexican-American women, hosted a news conference Friday afternoon to explain how they are contributing to the Phoenix serial shooter investigation. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
The reward on the table is up to $75,000. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) The reward on the table is up to $75,000. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Officials gather on Aug. 25 to give an update on the "Serial Street Shooter" investigation. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Officials gather on Aug. 25 to give an update on the "Serial Street Shooter" investigation. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Just 24 hours after the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Phoenix serial street shooter was increased to $75,000, Latino activists are pushing for answers about the investigation.

READ: Reward raised to $75,000 in 'Serial Street Shooter' case

So far nine separate shooting incidents and seven deaths have been linked to the serial street shooter. Those crimes go back to early March. the most recent was in mid-July.

A group called Somos Independents, an organization led by Mexican-American women, hosted a news conference Friday afternoon to explain how they are contributing to the investigation and talk about what they think needs to be done.

"We are responding to the call to action issued by local law enforcement in an effort to help catch the serial shooter at a grassroots level," according to a blog post on SomosIndependents.com. "The Spanish-speaking population in the Maryvale area and other areas affected by the serial shooter is extremely high."

SPECIAL SECTION: Serial street shooter

The group is particularly concerned because the shooter appears to mostly targeting Hispanics. The women believe more needs to be done to spread the word about the serial killer in the Valley's Spanish-speaking community.

During a recent event at Palm Valley Church, Somos Independents learned "Latino families had not heard about the serial shooter." A spokeswoman said the group was "not surprised" by that, but the women believe it's a major concern.

"We are here to help to fuel that message with the Spanish-speaking people," organizer Dee Dee Garcia Blase said Friday.

"We want to make sure that the message is targeted to the Latino Spanish-speaking community," Lydia Hernandez agreed. "We need to be inclusive."

The group also lauded Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's promise not to question tipsters about their immigration status.

"I applaud Bill Montgomery for not adding to the fear," Blase said.

The hope is that Montgomery's pledge will encourage everybody who might have information to call the police and alleviate concern over potential adverse consequences for speaking up.

The Phoenix Police Department will take any help it can get and urges people to keep their eyes open and repeat anything suspicious.

Throughout this investigation, police have collected a few pieces of evidence including shell casings, a sketch and a description of one of the cars used. However, that description is somewhat vague with detectives saying it's a late-'90s or early-2000s model black BMW 5 series.

Acting on a plethora of tips from the public, police have already checked on about 1,500 cars matching that description. Unfortunately, that BMW is incredibly common. In fact, there are roughly 30,000 registered BMWs in Arizona.

READ: Needle in a haystack? Police searching for serial killer's car

Police say if you see such a car, you should write down the license plate number. That information will help detectives run a search.

The killer is known to use other vehicles including what is described as a white Cadillac.  

If you have any information about the case, 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.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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