Tempe murder suspect stopped 3 times before nationwide warrant issued

Posted: Updated:
Police release new photo of suspect Caleb Bartels. (Source: Tempe Police Dept.) Police release new photo of suspect Caleb Bartels. (Source: Tempe Police Dept.)

While a Tempe murder suspect remains on the run, the Tempe Police Department released a timeline of how close he could have been to being caught.

Officers are still looking for 27-year-old Caleb Bartels. Police released an updated photo of Bartels on Tuesday night. Police said he was stopped three times by law enforcement, including once in Nevada and once in Utah, before a nationwide alert to law enforcement was issued.

Police said they first received a shots fired call at around 3:54 a.m. on Jan. 15 in the area of Mill Avenue and Baseline Road. Officers found the victim, Ryne Zahner, shot multiple times and was later pronounced dead.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Body of shooting victim found in backyard of Tempe home]

On Jan. 16, at around 3:15 p.m., investigators met with more people including a witness who gave them more information about the shooting, police said. At around 6 p.m., police said they had probable cause to name Caleb Bartels as the suspect in the murder.

[READ MORE: New photo of suspect wanted in killing of a Mesa High School teacher]

Between 6 p.m. and 6:40 p.m., investigators worked to obtain a 24- to 48-hour emergency nationwide warrant for Bartels while they worked with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to get a permanent warrant.

At about 6:40 p.m., a 48-hour emergency National Crime Information Center warrant was issued across the nation. The NCIC is a data base that can be accessed by virtually every agency nationwide to help find fugitives and suspects.

But before that happened, Tempe police said Bartels was stopped on Jan. 15 at around 5:30 p.m. (about 13.5 hours after the shooting) by the Arizona Department of Public Safety in northern Arizona.

Then later that night, at 10:04 p.m., he was stopped by Utah Highway Patrol, police said.

On Jan. 16 at 5:26 p.m., police said Nevada Highway Patrol stopped Bartels. That stop was about an hour before the nationwide warrant was issued.

The U.S. Marshals got involved and is now assisting including in the states where Bartels was stopped and where he might be.

On Jan. 16, at around 9 p.m., a media release was sent out asking for the public's helping in find Bartels.

Anyone with information about where he might be is asked to call their local police department.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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