2 men arrested for deadly New Year’s Day shooting near I-10 in Phoenix
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Phoenix police say two documented gang members have been arrested in connection with a double shooting on New Year’s Day that left one person dead. Randale Thomas, 30, and Gary Green, 35, were booked into the Maricopa County jail on Thursday on multiple charges, including homicide and assault.
Around 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, police responded to a shooting near 32nd Street and University Drive. There, investigators learned that multiple rounds had been fired at a Mercedes SUV with five people inside, striking two passengers. One of those passengers, 19-year-old Leon Greer, was rushed to an area hospital where he died the next day. The other passenger was shot in the leg.
According to court documents, one of the passengers told police that the group left a nightclub just after 2 a.m. and stopped to get gas at the Circle K on 7th and Roosevelt streets near downtown Phoenix. The passenger said they noticed a black Dodge Charger circling the parking lot while they were there. A few minutes later, near the area of Interstate 10, the passenger said a car drove up alongside the driver’s side of the SUV and began shooting. In a separate interview, the SUV driver said it was a black Dodge Charger.
NOTE: While Phoenix police initially believed the shooting happened on I-10, they later learned it actually took place on Jefferson Street just west of the interstate.
Detectives reviewed surveillance video at both the club and the gas station and were able to ID Green as the driver of the Charger based on his custom clothing and distinct tattoos. They were then able to connect him with Thomas, who owns the Charger. Police say both men are documented members of a gang and were already under investigation for an unrelated crime. Reviewing GPS data from a device police had previously placed on the Charger, detectives learned that the car was in the area of the club and gas station the morning of the shooting. The GPS device also logged that the Charger was going about 30 miles per hour before abruptly speeding up to nearly 75 miles per hour at the time the shooting is believed to have occurred.
A short time later, Thomas showed up at an area hospital with a gunshot wound to his hand. He told officers at the time that he had been in a fight with a man he didn’t know, who shot him. Police say Thomas later discussed the Jan. 1 shooting with someone on Facebook, saying he was shot while “on a mission.”
Police arrested Thomas and Green at their homes on Thursday, recovering multiple guns, including a 9mm pistol, the same caliber as the casings found at the shooting scene. Police say the suspects are in a gang that’s been in a growing feud with other south Phoenix gangs, resulting in murders and assaults. The Jan. 1 shooting is believed to be retaliation to another gang-related shooting that happened last month.
In a social media post on Friday morning, Phoenix police said detectives from multiple bureaus were involved in the arrest of Thomas and Green, including the department’s gang and special assignments units.
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