Authorities in Phoenix today admitted what many have suspected for quite some time – an active serial killer, dubbed the Serial Street Shooter (or Monster of Maryvale), is leaving a bloody trail across Phoenix, Arizona. Thus far, several killings have been tied to the shooter.
The spate of shootings began on March 17, 2016, when a 16-year-old boy was gunned down while walking along the street late at night. The next night, 21-year-old Diego Verdugo-Sanchez was shot while visiting his fiancée’s family.
The shootings were followed by two killings in April and two more in June. 55-year-old Krystal Annette White was found dead of a gunshot wound on April 19. 32-year-old Horacio Pena was killed on June 3 after returning home from work. 19-year-old Manuel Castro Garcia was murdered outside his home on June 10. On June 12, 2016, three people were shot and killed in front of their home around 3:00 AM (33-year-old Stefanie Ellis, 12-year-old Maleah Ellis, and 31-year-old Angela Linner). The June 12 killings culminated with an unoccupied shot-up car in the area around 2:35 AM.
On the evening of July 11, the Serial Street Shooter shot at a vehicle in a residential area of Phoenix. Two people, a 21-year-old man and a 4-year-old boy, who had been sitting inside the car were not injured.
BreAngela White, daughter of victim Krystal White, told reporters:
“It’s scary just knowing that somebody is out there taking innocent lives — someone’s mother, someone’s daughter — for no reason, and nobody has any answers.”
Police say the shootings are random with no ties between the victims. He simply shoots his victims at night with a semi-automatic handgun.
Witnesses describe the Serial Street Shooter as a “light-skinned Latino” or tanned white man in his 20’s driving a sedan vehicle. The shooter’s vehicle color has been variously described (tan, white, dark) leading police to believe he changes vehicles often. The two best described are a white Cadillac or Lincoln type vehicle and a black late 90’s or early 2000’s 5 Series BMW.
All of the shootings have occurred in the working-class neighborhood of Maryvale with many of the victims shot near their homes. Maryvale is a low-income neighborhood which suggests the killer may be targeting his victims based on social class and opportunity. A U.S. Marshal explained:
“He drives into these neighborhoods, sees someone standing outside. The victim’s age range — it’s from teenagers to the elderly, male, female. He’s just picking targets of opportunity, random individuals outside their homes at night.”
The shootings have sent a wave of panic through the Phoenix area. Children are being shooed inside before darkness sets in and shopkeepers have begun closing their stores early (all of the shootings have taken place after dark).
Police are unsure if the shooter is still active in the Maryvale area but fear the Serial Street Shooter may have moved to a different area. At this time, they do not feel the shootings are tied to last year’s Phoenix freeway shootings.
Law enforcement agencies and the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office are jointly offering a $30,000 reward to anyone who provides information that solves the serial killer mystery, and they are reminding the public tipsters can remain anonymous.