US man arrested over death of 9 people

2017-05-09 19:08
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Police in Arizona have arrested a 23-year-old man accused of spreading terror around the state capital Phoenix with a series of random shootings that left nine people dead.

Investigators say they do not know what led the suspect, Aaron Saucedo, to launch his months-long shooting spree.

Police chief Jeri Williams said: "This case plagued our community for more than a year and left behind a trail of victims that included mothers, sons, brothers, sisters and families still mourning the loss of their loved ones".

She said investigators worked round the clock to connect Saucedo, who was employed part-time as a bus driver, to the series of homicides.

They eventually made their breakthrough following a tip from the local community.

Saucedo's first alleged attack was in August 2015, where he is accused of having shot dead a friend of his mother.

He is later believed to have fired at complete strangers at random, killing eight people.  

Freeway shootings case

Police said the killings were unrelated to a series of 2015 freeway shootings in Phoenix that terrified drivers.

But in a strange quirk, the Department of Public Safety said Saucedo's gun from the killing of his mother's friend had been test-fired as part of the freeway shooting probe.

The weapon was the same type used in the freeway shootings — a High-Point 9mm pistol — but authorities say Saucedo had nothing to do with that case.

The department said it did not conduct ballistics tests on the gun and returned it to the pawn shop a few days later because investigators identified who they believed was the suspect in the freeway shootings case.

His case was ultimately thrown out however, but investigators still believe he's the culprit.

Police did not provide a motivation or details about why they believe Saucedo opened fire. The Associated Press was unable to reach Saucedo's public defender on Monday.

'Able to walk outside'

Marina Smith, the partner of 21-year-old Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, who was gunned down on April 1, 2016, said she welcomed news of the arrest but was still struggling with his loss.

Smith was seven months pregnant with the couple's child when Verdugo-Sanchez was fatally shot in front of a home.

Smith said she had grown frustrated over the past year as detectives kept her in the dark about the investigation.

"The fact of them finding somebody, at least it was some type of news," Smith said.

Police say Saucedo shot at two teenage boys on March 17, 2016, striking one of them in the arm. The suspect struck again the next day but didn't kill anyone.

The next shooting didn't happen until April 1, 2016, when Verdugo-Sanchez was fatally shot.

Police also have linked Saucedo to the April 19, 2016 death of 60-year-old Krystal White; the June 3, 2016, death of Horacio de Jesus Pena; and to the killings of two women, Angela Linner and Stefanie Ellis, and 12-year-old girl Maleah Ellis on June 12, 2016. He killed Manny Castro Garcia on June 10, 2016.

In the most recent attack on July 11, 2016, a 21-year-old man and his 4-year-old nephew escaped injury after the gunman shot at a vehicle they were sitting in.

Rosa Pastrana, the head of a block watch group in the Maryvale neighbourhood hardest hit by the killings, was relieved after hearing news of the arrest.

"I'm happy my kids are going to be able to walk outside and I won't have to fear that they're going to get shot," Pastrana said.

Pastrana said she spearheaded a neighbourhood effort to encourage residents to talk to police.

Some residents were apathetic at first but many got involved as the shootings continued, she said.




Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

Makeover saves dog’s life

Lucky Charlie got a complete make-over that helped him get adopted.

 
 

Paws

For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.