• Reporter Megan Cassidy on Phoenix 'Serial Street Shooter' arrest

    Reporter Megan Cassidy on Phoenix ‘Serial Street Shooter’ arrest

  • Phoenix police arrest suspect in 'Serial Street Shooter' case

    Phoenix police arrest suspect in ‘Serial Street Shooter’ case

  • 911 call: The latest Phoenix 'serial street shooter' victim calm after shooting

    911 call: The latest Phoenix ‘serial street shooter’ victim calm after shooting

  • Maryvale resident talks about violence

    Maryvale resident talks about violence

  • 911 call: The first attack attributed to the 'serial street shooter'

    911 call: The first attack attributed to the ‘serial street shooter’

  • 911 call: The second 'serial street shooter' incident

    911 call: The second ‘serial street shooter’ incident

  • 'Serial street shooter' case

    ‘Serial street shooter’ case

  • Law enforcement asks for public help in serial shooter case

    Law enforcement asks for public help in serial shooter case

  • Neighbor comments on 'serial street shooter'

    Neighbor comments on ‘serial street shooter’

  • Maryvale community meeting

    Maryvale community meeting

  • 'We just don't know why they did it'

    ‘We just don’t know why they did it’

  • Police: 5 west Phoenix homicides likely connected

    Police: 5 west Phoenix homicides likely connected

  • Phoenix police seek public help to solve string of murders

    Phoenix police seek public help to solve string of murders

Police say the shooter struck 12 times between August 2015 and July 2016, killing 9 people and wounding 2 others.

After weeks of speculation and unconfirmed reports, Phoenix police on Monday officially announced a suspect in the “Serial Street Shootings” case that terrorized the Phoenix area for four months in 2016.

Aaron Juan Saucedo, who was initially arrested April 19 in connection with a fatal shooting in 2015, was re-booked into a Maricopa County jail on Monday and is now facing 26 charges related to the serial shootings, police said.

Duringthe announcement Monday afternoon, Police Chief Jeri Williams said at least two additional murders, including the 2015 shooting, had been linked to the serial shootings, bringing the death toll to nine. And she said investigators recently added to the series an incident in August 2015, when shots were fired into a house but no one was hurt. That brings the total number of shootings to 12.

Williams said tips from the community — about 33,000 in all — ultimately led police to Saucedo.

“We hope that our community will rest a little easier and that our officers will get a little more sleep (knowing) that our wheels of justice are finally in motion at work,” she said.

Last month, Saucedo was arrested and held on a $750,000 bond in the shooting death of 61-year-old Raul Romero on Aug. 16, 2015. Romero had been dating Saucedo’s mother at the time of his death.

Police on Monday linked Romero’s death to the “Serial Street Shootings,” as well as the shooting death of 22-year-old Jesse Olivas, who was killed in a drive-by shooting Jan. 1, 2016.

Unlike Romero, the rest of the victims seemed to be picked at random. They were visiting family, returning home from work or lounging in their yards when they were gunned down by a phantom assailant.

Witnesses and surviving victims described a slender, young Hispanic man but couldn’t agree on a vehicle. Police said it was possible that the killer had access to multiple cars but circulated a stock photo of one vehicle a witness described in detail: a black BMW 5 series, late 1990s to early 2000s.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard said police have not yet identified a motive but indicated that Saucedo has given at least some incriminating statements to police.

When asked why activity appeared to cease in July, Howard pointed to Phoenix police’s media push in getting the description of the shooter’s appearance and vehicle out to the public. It was then that Saucedo decided to change his appearance and stop driving his BMW, Howard said Saucedo told investigators.

Howard said a “wide host of evidence” linked Saucedo to the series of shootings, including ballistics, surveillance, witnesses and other forensic evidence.

“It goes on and on,” he said, but did not divulge more details because the investigation is ongoing.

Howard said the $75,000 reward offered in the case will be given to the tipster or tipsters who led police to Saucedo. They will remain anonymous through the city’s Silent Witness program.

The case is now in the hands of Maricopa County prosecutors, who will make the official charging decisions.

“We will review all the evidence submitted to see which charges to charge the suspect with … to make sure we have a case that we will prosecute successfully and hold the individuals accountable for the harm made to the community,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton commended the Phoenix Police Department for “carefully and methodically” working the case.

“Our officers didn’t rest,” Stanton said. “Investigators worked every lead. They followed the evidence. They had a clear mission: Get the killer to justice and get it right.”


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At the time of his arrest, Saucedo was living in the 4600 block of North 10th Street in Phoenix, according to court records. Two investigators were outside the home when Arizona Republic reporters showed up last month but would not confirm the reason for their presence.

Joe Guzman, a neighbor across the street, spoke briefly to Republic reporters that same day. He said he didn’t know Saucedo but was acquainted with his mother, Maria. He remembered Aaron Saucedo speeding up and down the street and noted that, a few days earlier, police had seized Saucedo’s car, a black BMW.

Police said Saucedo sold a Hi-Point 9 mm handgun to a pawn shop on Sept. 1, 2015, 16 days after Romero was murdered. The gun was purchased by a new owner on June 28, 2016.

If the gun was in the pawn shop this whole time, it would rule it out of all but one of the incidents tied to the serial shooter.

There are few records of Saucedo in Arizona, criminal or otherwise. Neighbors said he had been living at the North 10th Street residence since he was a boy, and yearbook photos show he attended North High School in Phoenix his freshman and sophomore years. The yearbooks give no indications that Saucedo participated in any high school clubs or activities.

A Phoenix Union High School District representative confirmed that Saucedo transferred to Central High School by his junior year, but the district has no records for him thereafter. This could mean he dropped out or transferred to another district.

Saucedo’s lone footprint on the state’s justice system prior to the Romero charge — a red-light ticket in September 2015 — provides one piece of his work history. At the time, Saucedo was a public-bus driver. A red-light photo of the incident shows a relaxed, 20-year-old Saucedo wearing neon green sunglasses and gripping the bus’ steering wheel.

The city of Phoenix does not directly employ bus drivers, but rather contracts with two private companies, First Transit and Transdev.

In court records from Saucedo’s initial arrest April 19, Saucedo reported that he was employed full-time working in “labor” at a company called Re-Bath. A representative at Re-Bath said Saucedo worked at one of the temp agencies used by the company.

One of two victims who survived after being shot by the serial shooter said investigators visited him last month to show him a photo lineup.

The victim, who was 21 at the time of the shooting, said he didn’t really recognize anyone in the lineup but stressed that the shooting was more than a year ago. He said he “pointed out some things” that might help police.

“I really don’t care anymore, to be honest with you,” he said.

The Republic has and will continue to withhold the victim’s identity.

Another whose car was shot at said police visited him to show him a lineup, as well. He also seemed uncertain about the suspect’s identity.

“There was like, six of them that he showed me,” he said. “It was hard to put a finger on it, because it’s exactly like … it was so generic, I couldn’t really put a finger and say, ‘Yeah, it’s that (guy) for sure.’ “

The victim said he pointed out more than one person in the photo lineup. But when The Republic showed him a picture of Saucedo, he said he didn’t think he was one of the men he picked.

Serial street shootings

“My mind is all over the place. My body is in shock,” Sylvia Ellis said. “I’m trying to get myself together.”

Ellis lost two loved ones to the serial shooter: her daughter Stefanie Ellis and 12-year-old granddaughter, Maleah. Ellis said she was walking home Monday morning when she saw a patrol vehicle parked outside her home.

She recognized the detectives as they approached. They told her an arrest had been made.

“They said they couldn’t give me a lot of details, as it’s still an active case,” Ellis said. “But they wanted me to find out from them and not the news. I know that when the right time comes for them to share more details, they will.”

As for the suspect, Ellis said she had never heard of Saucedo. Her family didn’t know him either, she said.

Frequents texts and calls came to the grieving mother and grandmother as family and friends quickly learned of the arrest. She was waiting for her husband, Dossie Ellis Sr., to get home to tell him the news.

“I’m not sure if he knows yet,” Syliva Ellis said, her voice cracking. “I’m sure he’ll be walking through the door any minute now.”

She also planned to make a call to Nancy Pena, the mother of another victim.

Pena had reached out to her last summer. The two women have yet to meet in person, but they grieve the loss of their children together, often speaking on the phone, Ellis said.

“Right now, I’ve got to collect all my feelings first,” she said, taking a deep breath.


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The shooter struck 12 times between August 12, 2015, and July 11, 2016, killing nine people and wounding two more.

The first two shootings took place just east of Seventh Street between Camelback and Bethany Home roads, within a five-minute drive of Saucedo’s home.

Seven of the attacks were in the west Phoenix community of Maryvale, in an area roughly between McDowell Road on the south to Camelback Road on the north, stretching from 55th Avenue west to 73rd Avenue.

Three other attacks took place in east-central Phoenix, two of them within a stone’s throw of 32nd Street — one near Oak Street and the other near Fillmore Street. The third attack occurred south of Banner University Medical Center-Phoenix, in a neighborhood just south of Interstate 10.

All of the shootings were in residential neighborhoods with predominantly Hispanic populations where most residents are Spanish-language dominant.

Though police specifically underscored the BMW sedan, witnesses described several cars, including a long white Cadillac or Lincoln, a dark Nissan Maxima or Chevrolet Malibu, a light-colored four-door car and a dark car with “triangle-shaped” headlights.

The crimes police have tied together:

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