Family of first victim killed by 'serial street shooter' reflects one year after murder

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Diego Jr. was born two months after his father was killed Diego Jr. was born two months after his father was killed

Phoenix police are cross-checking ballistic evidence from the serial street shooter investigation with evidence in the freeway shooter case. 

[RELATED: Phoenix PD comparing freeway shooter evidence to 2015 murder, other cases]

Last week, Aaron Saucedo was arrested for the murder of his mother's boyfriend.

The weapon used in that crime back in 2015 was the same type of gun used in the freeway shootings.

Saucedo is considered a person of interest in last year's "serial street shootings" that killed seven people and injured two more.

The family of the first man to die at the hands of the "serial street shooter" is speaking out now that police might be getting closer to an answer.

“It honestly doesn't seems like it's been a year at all," said Marina Smith, the fiancée of the late Diego Verdugo-Sanchez.

[RELATED: 'Person of interest' identified in Phoenix Serial Street Shooter case; DPS denies link to freeway shooter case]

Parents-to-be Verdugo-Sanchez and Smith were excitedly awaiting the birth of their first baby last spring.

Smith had miscarried four times before finally becoming pregnant with a boy. A child who would never meet his father.

"It was the worst night of our lives," Smith’s mother, Holly Bonilla recalls.  

Police say Verdugo-Sanchez was gunned down by the serial street shooter April 1, 2016. Bonilla heard the gunshots and found her son-in-law lying on the ground.

"I felt like to have my son I had to lose my husband,” said Smith.

[Special section: Phoenix 'Serial Street Shooter' case]

Diego junior was born two months later.

"This is all that's left of his daddy,” said Smith, holding her now 10-month-old son.

Smith says Diego Jr. is the spitting image of his father.

"His laugh, his humor, everything."  

Since the shooting they've lived in fear, never knowing who killed Verdugo-Sanchez or why. They say the news of this "person of interest" comes as a shock, bringing back the same emotions they felt after the murder.

"There's nothing nobody could say for why it happened,” said Bonilla. “It's sad because we were happy here."

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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