someone is driving around killing homeless people like me!!! but i guess the good news is they havent killed anybody in the area i live - yet
4 of 16 shootings are linked, police say Possible serial killer may be picking random people, animals
Judi Villa and John Faherty The Arizona Republic Jan. 28, 2006 12:00 AM
A series of 16 random shootings has left people and animals dead and wounded from Tolleson to east Phoenix, and police suspect the shootings may be connected, possibly to a serial killer.
Since June 29, three people have been killed, and two others wounded in the shootings. The death toll also includes three horses and four dogs.
Four of the shootings have been linked by physical evidence, Phoenix police said Friday. Time, proximity and other details could link the other 12. But police aren't sure if the shootings are the rampage of one gunman or if more people are involved.
"Indications are that we could have an individual or a group of individuals randomly driving around shooting at animals and occasionally people," Assistant Phoenix Police Chief Kevin Robinson said.
"When we look at the pattern of behavior, clearly it gives us cause for concern."
The shots come in the dark of night in areas where virtually nobody is around. Fourteen shootings were with a small-caliber weapon; a shotgun was used in the other two incidents.
The targets appear to be randomly picked: People outside alone, dogs on corner lots surrounded by chain-link fences, horses. Usually, several targets are clustered in an area.
"I couldn't believe when the cops told me. All these shootings by the same person or people," said Timmy Tordai, 40, who was shot Dec. 29 in Phoenix. "It freaks me out. I hope they don't come back. There's no reason for it."
The same gunman also may have killed two homeless men just blocks from where Tordai was shot. At the time, police said Tordai, Marco Carillo, 28, and Jose Ortis, 44, were shot with the same-caliber weapon.
"They might get their jollies off shooting people," Tordai said, "but they have to be sick in the head."
The shootings have occurred in Phoenix, Tolleson and Avondale. The four that have been positively linked stretch from the earliest to the latest:
A horse shot to death at 8:50 a.m. June 29 in Tolleson.
A dog shot to death at 12:08 a.m. July 20 in Phoenix.
The shooting of Tordai at 11:39 p.m. Dec. 29.
Two dogs shot, one fatally, at 12:10 a.m. Dec. 30.
"It's just pure meanness, I guess," said Ron Travis of Phoenix, the owner of the dogs shot Dec. 30. The dogs were outside in a fenced yard when Travis heard one dog cry out in pain. His son heard two pops. One dog had to be put to sleep. The other one survived but has a bullet lodged in its chest.
"It's senseless," Travis said. " . . . I think it was just somebody driving around, and they were looking for something to shoot."
The 12 shootings police still are trying to definitively link include the killing of David Estrada, 20, in Tolleson on June 29, as he stood on a road, and the wounding of Clarissa Stevens, 21, as she walked alone on Van Buren Street at 2 a.m. Dec. 30.
All the shootings appear to have occurred in groups, beginning June 29 then continuing in July and August. In addition to Estrada's murder, five horses and two family dogs were shot, all within a few miles of each other.
The second cluster of shootings began Dec. 29 when Ortis, Carillo and Tordai were shot. Stevens was shot a couple of hours later. Two dogs also were killed during that timeframe.
Police said Friday that they have no witnesses and essentially no clue as to who is doing this.
"We're not sure if we've got two people out there or three people or a group of people or if it's just one," Phoenix police Cmdr. Kim Humphrey said.
Officials declined to disclose what evidence linked the four shootings or why police couldn't definitively connect the others.
The only clue appears to be the description of a vehicle seen near shootings in Tolleson and Phoenix. The vehicle is believed to be a 1995 or newer Honda-type sedan, dark green or gray with tinted windows.
Police said it's likely the shooter or shooters have bragged about what they've done. Police are asking the public to step forward with tips. A $5,000 reward is being offered through Silent Witness, 1-800-343-TIPS.
On Friday afternoon, Tordai walked to the bus stop to catch a ride to work. Days, he's fine, but at night he worries. Someone now drives him home when his shift in a cafeteria ends.
"No one is safe," Tordai said. He pointed to the spot on the sidewalk where he was shot. His blood still colors the pavement.
"You want to shoot people," he said, "join the Army."