34 shootings in Phoenix may be related

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

PHOENIX -- A series of shootings that wounded 13 people during the past two months may be linked to an earlier set of assaults, slayings and animal shootings in the city that killed four people, police said Tuesday.

Clues in the serial shootings possibly point to the same perpetrator, police Cmdr. Bill Louis said, but so little is known that detectives are frustrated and need help to break the case.

"We have no description," Louis said. "This has been very perplexing for us. To have this many incidents without at least one witness, it's not making sense."

Police spokesman Andy Hill said investigators connected the two sets of crimes after discovering new information. He declined to elaborate, saying only that "we believed this possibility existed all along."

Detectives have been tracking the 13 shootings, which began May 2, as part of an unusual crime wave. Police said they believe the recent shootings are related to 25 shootings that began in May 2005 and killed at least four people -- two homeless men plus a woman and a man sitting at a bus stop. Horses and dogs have also been shot.

The 13 latest shootings all happened late in the evening or early in the morning. Most occurred on major roads in Phoenix, wounding people as they walked along the street or rode bicycles. No one was killed.

Louis said he thinks only one person may be responsible, and the suspect drove a light-colored, medium-sized sedan. Louis wouldn't say if he thought the shooter fired from the car, or what kind of gun was used.

Since August, a task force has also been trying to catch a serial killer dubbed the Baseline Rapist who authorities believe is responsible for five killings and a series of rapes and assaults.

Mayor Phil Gordon announced a $100,000 reward for information about the serial shooter or the Baseline Rapist.

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