Phoenix Police Name Suspect In 'Serial Street Shooter' Case

Erica Roy
May 10, 2017

It took 3,500 tips from the public and some old fashion police work by a team of dogged detectives to apprehend the suspect who allegedly sent Phoenix into a panic more than a year ago, murdering nine people during 12 random shootings.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri L. Williams announces, Monday, May 8, 2017, in Phoenix, the arrest of 23-year-old Aaron Saucedo in connection with the serial street shootings that terrorized the Phoenix area over four months in 2016.

They believed he was responsible for nine ambushes that killed seven people, including a 12-year-old girl, and put the city on edge.

Investigators initially believed a serial shooter was responsible for seven deaths previous year, but in recent weeks they determined two other victims were also shot by the same gunman, who they believe to be Saucedo, including the victim killed in August 2015.

In interviews with families of victims and residents, people said they were happy that police made an arrest but questioned whether it would have happened sooner had the killings occurred in a different neighborhood.

"Today (Monday) is a good day in the city of Phoenix.They had a clear mission, bring this killer to justice and get it right", said Mayor Greg Stanton, praising the law enforcement task force that hunted the shooter for almost a year.

On Monday, Williams and Mayor Greg Stanton appeared alongside other top officials, including Maricopa County's top prosecutor, to announce the break in a case that had appeared largely stalled in recent months as leads and tips dried up.

"When they showed me the picture, I did get a little chills", he said.

Saucedo was first arrested last month in connection with the 2015 shooting of a man who had a relationship with his mother, 61-year-old Raul Romero.

Saucedo has been in custody several weeks on charges he killed his mother's boyfriend in August 2015, Police Sgt. Jon Howard said.

Jesse Olivas, 22, was shot dead on the street on January 1, 2016. Weapons technicians concluded only a Hi-Point gun could produce the markings they found, the report went on to say.

Between March and July a year ago, seven people were killed by the murderer who randomly opened fire on pedestrians and cars in areas of west Phoenix. Manuel Castro Garcia, 19, (center) was killed a week later on June 10. He now faces another 26 felony charges.

The shootings stymied the authorities for months, and the police are still unsure of Saucedo's motive.

The last shootings in the alleged spree occurred on July 11, when someone opened fire on a 21-year-old man and a 4-year-old boy as they were sitting in a auto, according to Phoenix police.

Investigators received a tip-off from the community and analysed surveillance videos, evidence from the crime scene and witness statements, which eventually led them to link Saucedo to the string of deadly attacks.

"The only thing I can say is thank God there's going to be justice and we leave it in God's hands".

On 17 March, 2016, a 16-year-old boy was shot dead as he walked down the street at 11.30 pm. "But they wanted me to find out from them and not the news". The suspect struck again the next day but didn't kill anyone. Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, 21, was shot outside a home at around 9pm.

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