US Man Arrested Over Series Of Fatal Arizona Shootings

Posted May 10, 2017

Authorities in Arizona announced Monday that they had identified and charged a suspect in a series of shootings that killed nine people over an 11-month period.

Phoenix Police have arrested Aaron Juan Saucedo and charged him with 26 felony counts of homicide, aggravated assault and drive-by-shooting for 12 shootings that took place between August 2015 and July 2016.

Phoenix police say Saucedo was responsible for 12 separate shootings and nine deaths.

According to police, Saucedo stalked victims after dark, selecting people who were either outside of their homes or sitting in cars before opening fire with a handgun.

Although the shooter has struck as far east as 32nd Street, the most obvious connection between the killings is geography.

Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton congratulated police and other law enforcement officials who hunted down the suspect.

"They had a clear mission: bring this killer to justice and get it right".

By last month, Lora Romero had nearly given up hope that Phoenix police would ever find the gunman who murdered her father, Raul, in August 2015.

Police gave few details on how they linked Saucedo to the killings and they did not say why the attacks stopped last July. The police said at the news conference that they had found no "correlation" between Saucedo and the victims, though The Arizona Republic reported that Romero had been dating Saucedo's mother when he was killed. Manuel Castro Garcia, 19, (center) was killed a week later on June 10.

Saucedo was a bus driver for the city of Phoenix through a temp agency for several months in 2015, Phoenix police said.

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The families of victims said that they feel a sense of justice but continue to suffer with their loss.

Prosecutors said it hasn't been decided how many cases they will take to trial, suggesting the evidence in some is stronger than in others.

Police were led to Saucedo by tips from the community and they said they will be giving out the $75,000 reward they offered for information in the case.

Marina Smith was seven months pregnant last year when her partner, 21-year-old Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, was gunned down.

Lora Romero said Saucedo's arrest, while a relief, reopened the wounds of losing her father - a hard-working, generous man who loved to watch football, play softball and tell amusing stories to his kids.

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

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

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

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

Investigators initially believed a serial shooter was responsible for seven deaths past year, but in recent weeks they determined two other victims - the one killed in August 2015 and another person slain in January 2016 - were shot by the so-called "serial street shooter" who they believe to be Saucedo.