Family remembers one of the Mesa shooting spree victims

A woman is remembering her brother as a good person after he was shot and killed during a Mesa and Phoenix shooting spree.
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 5:08 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Elaina, who didn’t want to give her last name, is mourning the loss of her brother Stephen Young. He was gunned down overnight Saturday during a shooting spree in Mesa and Phoenix. According to court paperwork, it appears the suspect Iren Byers was targeting people who were homeless or using drugs.

“He was actually very loved, he was a good person,” said Elaina about her brother. Court documents detail the first attack in Phoenix, where Byers admitted to shooting Nicholas Arnstad in the head because he was smoking fentanyl. Detectives said he then shot and killed Julian Cox at Beverly Park in Mesa. Then the third victim, Young, was found dead near Country Club and Broadway Road. Byers reportedly told investigators he killed Young because he wanted to smoke blue pills. Elaina said Young struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse for most of his life but believed he was getting clean recently. “He called me that day. I got to say, ‘Stephen, you sound good. I am so glad to hear that. I love you,’” said Elaina.

Court paperwork shows most of the victims in a deadly shooting spree in Phoenix and Mesa were homeless and the suspect was angry toward people who used drugs.

Detectives said Byers shot the fourth victim, John Swain, in the head because he was homeless. The final victim, a woman, was shot in the face but is expected to survive. Elaina said it is painful to know Byers was targeting vulnerable people. “I am mad at him for taking my brother because he was loved. Yeah, he was homeless but he was trying,” said Elaina.

Byers is facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

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