Phoenix police confirm bullet casings are connected to serial killing spree

Police say July incident suggests shooter may still be on the hunt;citywide alert remains as law enforcement continues patrols

Police investigating nine nighttime drive-by shootings in Phoenix have confirmed they recovered bullet casings from at least three of the crime scenes and received detailed vehicle descriptions from witnesses.

The shootings, which occurred from mid-March to mid-July, are believed to be the work of a serial killer described by witnesses as a lanky man in his early 20s.

Investigators are leaving open the possibility that someone else may have participated in the attacks. Documents released last week showed that shell casings were found at each of the three crime scenes.

In all, seven people have been killed and two others wounded. Witnesses have described hearing anywhere between five and 10 shots, but no one has seen any of the bullets actually being fired.

Police had initially believed that the string of attacks had ended in mid-June when the assailant fatally shot two women and a 12-year-old girl in their driveway.

But police have since added a ninth shooting to the pattern an 11 July incident in which the gunman fired at a man and a four-year-old boy sitting in a car. Neither was struck.

But the addition of the new incident suggests the shooter, or shooters, were still active even after Phoenix law enforcement stepped up their efforts and issued a city wide alert.

Earlier this month, Phoenix Police sergeant Jonathan Howard warned: The threat is still alive.

We dont want to see anybody else get hurt. We want to make an arrest and stop this, he added. Were fortunate in this new incident that nobody was injured.

Based on witness statements to police, detectives believe the suspect has access to several cars: one appears to be a white Cadillac or Lincoln, another a late 90s brown Nissan, and a third may be an early 2000s black BMW. Police confirmed that theyve looked into whether the killer could have access to a used car lot.

In each incident, the victims have been attacked in the working-class Maryvale section of Phoenix, near their car or home and in the evening or very early morning hours.

The victims include a 16-year-old boy wounded while walking in the street at 11.30pm on 17 March; a 21-year-old male shot standing near his car on the street at 11.30pm a day later; 21-year-old Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, killed 1 April while visiting his pregnant fiances family; 55-year-old Krystal Annette White, found dead of a gunshot on 19 April; 32-year-old Horacio Pena, fatally shot 3 June after returning home from work; and 19-year-old Manuel Castro Garcia, murdered outside his home on 10 June.

In the final fatal incident, on 12 June, 33-year-old Stefanie Ellis, her 12-year-old daughter Maleah and Ellis 31-year-old friend, Angela Linner, were killed outside their home. In that incident, a witness told police she saw a man wearing a white shirt and red shorts as he stood beside a dark-colored sedan. A witness also told police that it wasnt unusual for the victims to sit in a parked car listening to music.

Investigators are checking whether neighbors have security camera and pursuing hundreds of leads, and have composed a sketch of teh suspect.

Police later found shell casings inside the victims vehicle, indicating the women were all shot at close range. Police also found nearly $3,000 cash inside the victims vehicle, indicating that robbery was not a motive. That same night, the killer targeted an empty pick-up truck.

This guy shot and killed a 12-year-old girl, Howard told <a href=”http://www.wral.com/phoenix-neighborhood-on-edge-as-serial-killer-prowls/15923671/” data-link-name=”in” body link” class=”u-underline”>local WRAL news. We hope someone elses conscience catches up with them.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/13/phoenix-police-recover-bullet-casings-serial-killer

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