Published: Wed, May 10, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Phoenix serial killings suspect: 'I'm innocent'

Phoenix serial killings suspect: 'I'm innocent'

The killer was dubbed the Serial Street Shooter. Once he was in custody, detectives were able to link him to the other murders.

Speaking to PEOPLE Tuesday morning, Phoenix police spokesman Jonathan Howard likens the year-long investigation that led to 23-year-old Aaron Saucedo's arrest to assembling a jigsaw puzzle.

Phoenix police said the shootings in the Phoenix neighborhood were not related to 2015 highway shootings in the Phoenix area. Police say tips from the community resulted in his arrest.

Police said they would pay out a $75,000 reward offered for information that could help solve the case but declined to say how many people would get the money.

She said she had grown frustrated about being kept in the dark about the investigation.

Mayor Greg Stanton revealed on Monday that a tip from the public identified Saucedo as the serial street shooter.

Saucedo's last suspected victim was Manny Castro Garcia, age 19, a recent high school grad who was shot and killed on June 10, the Arizona Republic reported.

June 12, 2016: A 33-year-old woman, Stefanie Ellis, her 12-year-old daughter Maleah Ellis, and her friend, 31-year-old Angela Linner, were shot outside of a home around 3 a.m.

Police believe Saucedo also tried to kill a 21-year-old man and his 4-year-old nephew on July 11, shooting at the random passengers as they sat in their vehicle, but the pair escaped the scene unharmed, according to CBS.

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Police say one of the nine people was a 61-year-old man killed in August 2015 whom Saucedo knew through his mother.

Aaron Saucedo, 23, was arrested in April and later charged with murder in connection with the first of the killings, which occurred in August 2015, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams told reporters at a news conference.

The city's fear peaked because most of the killings came in a cluster, with seven people slain in a two-and-a-half-month period last spring. Authorities investigated Saucedo more closely and connected him to the other killings.

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

Police say Saucedo shot at two teenage boys on March 17, 2016, striking one of them in the arm.

April 1: Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, 21, killed at around 9:00 p.m.

July 11, 2016: A auto with a 21-year-old man and his 4-year-old nephew inside was shot at.

Residents of Maryvale neighborhood, where most of the shootings took place, expressed relief upon hearing of the arrest.

"It was a real shock and a real loss because he was always involved in our lives and to have him taken away from us like that was a really bad thing to go through", she said.

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