New details in Serial Street Shooter case as anniversary approaches

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Most recent composite sketch of the serial shooter suspect. (Source: Phoenix Police Department) Most recent composite sketch of the serial shooter suspect. (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
It's believed the same suspect has killed seven people and injured or shot at several others. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) It's believed the same suspect has killed seven people and injured or shot at several others. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Frank Taylor had access to a gun and listed several addresses in the Maryvale area where five of the seven serial shooting victims were killed but police couldn't find the evidence to connect him to the killing spree. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Frank Taylor had access to a gun and listed several addresses in the Maryvale area where five of the seven serial shooting victims were killed but police couldn't find the evidence to connect him to the killing spree. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

For the first time, Phoenix police are commenting publicly about a man they looked at as a potential suspect in the serial shooting case. This comes just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the start of the spree.

"There were several tips that came in on Frank Taylor," Sgt. Jonathan Howard said.

If that name sounds familiar, it might be because Frank Taylor was involved in an attempted armed robbery last August that made headlines. Glendale police say he pointed a gun at a woman and her two friends outside of a Circle K and demanded her gun, which was holstered. The woman, fearing for her life, shot Taylor.

"He was killed in an armed robbery attempt a couple of weeks after our last incident, so there were people pointing us to Frank Taylor," said Sgt. Howard.

Taylor was 27. He did have a criminal past. He also had access to a gun and listed several addresses in the Maryvale area where five of the seven serial shooting victims were killed.

Tipsters also pointed out his resemblance to the sketch and the fact that after Taylor's death, the shootings stopped.

"Our detectives did research that. They did investigate, but they were unable to gather enough evidence to link him to this crime," Sgt. Howard said.

As that tip and many others fizzled, investigators continue to work on the case and the anniversary is something they're keenly aware of for a few reasons.

"There's going to be a lot of families mourning the loss of a loved one again here in the next few months," said Sgt. Howard.

March 17 marks the one year since the first incident in what would become the serial shooter case.

During a four-month period, seven people were killed, four others injured in nine shootings, as the gunman opened fire seemingly at random.

[TIMELINE: 9 shootings incidents since March]

"It was forensic evidence, meaning physical evidence a totality of that, that definitively linked these," Sgt. Howard said.

Investigators have received more than 3,000 tips in the case but as more time passes, public interest fades, and fewer tips are called in. 

The last shooting was on July 11. A man and a child were targeted as they sat in their car. They were not hit.

[READ MORE: Phoenix serial shooting survivor: 'I should have died']

"I used to get calls every day. Now, I get calls every month," said Sgt. Howard.

The task force assembled to help solve the case is still intact, and detectives work every tip and investigate lead they can get their hands on.

[Special section: Phoenix serial killer]

There are several theories about who may be responsible but Sgt. Howard said today they think the most likely scenario is that it's one man pulling the trigger, although he said there might be another person who has "great knowledge" about it.

As for why the shootings stopped, well, there are just as many theories surrounding that too.

"Is he dead? Is he incarcerated? Has he just chosen to stop his crimes?" Sgt. Howard asked. "We don't know and we don't know if he has an additional trigger."

Which is why police are once again appealing to the public for help asking anyone who may have information to 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.)

There is still a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

[RELATED: Reward raised to $75,000 in 'Serial Street Shooter' case]

They believe if they're going to solve this case it will be because of a tip that breaks it wide open.

Of course, they're hoping that happens sooner rather than later as these victims families grow wearier.

[RELATED: Police: Think beyond the serial shooter sketches]

On Wednesday, Sgt. Howard had a specific message just for those families.

"I want them to know we still care about them we're still working as hard as we possibly can to try and solve this case and bring them some justice," Sgt. Howard said. 

[PHOTOS: The victims of Phoenix serial killer]

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


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