Man shot to death while riding bike in Phoenix neighborhood


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 6:53 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 2 at 12:13 PM

Map: 17th Ave. & Peoria

View larger map

Right now, it's pretty much random."

PHOENIX -- Police are trying to piece together the events that led to a man's murder in a Phoenix neighborhood early Thursday morning.

It happened in the area of 17th and Peoria avenues.

According to police, a 51-year-old white man was riding a bike on 17th Avenue near Hatcher Road at about 2:45 a.m. when he was shot and killed.

Early reports were that the victim and the suspect got into some kind of argument. Now, however, police believe the suspect simply opened fire as he drove by. One witness reported hearing eight shots.

"A white pickup truck, for whatever reason, starts approaching him, drives by very slowly," Officers James Holmes of the Phoenix Police Department said. "Someone from that vehicle fired multiple shots at this victim. ... Right now, it's pretty much random."

The victim was hit several times. He died at a local hospital. Police have identified the man, but they have not talked to his next of kin. They will not release his name until they can do that.

Holmes said officers are scouring the scene for evidence and going door to door to talk to potential witnesses. Detectives also hope footage from a security camera mounted on a nearby apartment building might reveal exactly what happened.

The suspect fled the scene in a white pickup truck. No other description of him or his vehicle was immediately available.

At this point, police do not know if the victim and the suspect were acquainted in any way.

Witnesses and neighbors say there is quite a bit of drug activity in the area, but investigators are not sure if this was a drug-related incident.

Police say they are familiar with the neighborhood and have been called there several times in the past. Holmes said calls have been decreasing lately so it seemed like things were getting better.

Neighbors did not want to talk to 3TV's Tess Rafols on camera, but one woman told her that she is afraid of the things that happen in the area.