Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Family of shooting victims: Arrest bittersweet

This photo and sketch combo shows an undated photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office of Aaron Saucedo, left, and a July 2016 composite sketch provided by the Phoeni.

Authorities say a suspect has been arrested in series of shooting attacks in Phoenix a year ago that left at least seven people dead and two others wounded over a four-month period.

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP).

A year and a half before Aaron Saucedo was charged with being the Phoenix serial shooter, law enforcement had in their hands a valuable piece of evidence against him: the gun he allegedly used to kill the first of nine victims.

PHOENIX (AP) - The man dubbed by police as the Serial Street Shooter has left behind few signs of what his life was like before he was arrested in Phoenix's first serial killings in a decade.

"I'm innocent", Aaron Saucedo, 23, blurted out as a Maricopa County prosecutor was detailing the case against him during the hearing on Monday evening.

Police on Monday said 23-year-old Aaron Juan Saucedo is responsible for Pena's killing on June 3, 2016, and that of eight others in a total of 12 shootings.

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Aaron Saucedo appeared before a judge and acknowledged that he understood the objective of the court appearance to inform him of the allegations.

Saucedo has held various jobs over the years, including working as a laborer for a home remodeling company and as a city bus driver. Saucedo said in court he was innocent. But police on Monday said they had tied Saucedo to nine killings in all - eight random victims and one man that he knew.

The remaining four guns were never analyzed and they went back to the pawn shops within days, officials said.

She said investigators worked round the clock to connect Saucedo, who was employed part-time as a bus driver, to the series of homicides.

Phoenix police refused to comment on whether the evidence could have led them to Saucedo.

Saucedo went to a public high school in Phoenix and also attended one specializing in troubled youth. "Today we are closer to providing them the justice they deserve", Williams said.

The hunt for the killer yielded more than 30,000 tips, and authorities said it was tipsters who provided the break in the case.

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The investigation into the serial killings had focused on what authorities said were seven fatal shootings.

After trying to find the suspect for more than a year, police announced on Monday they had linked Saucedo to a total of 12 seemingly random shootings on the city's west side. Police said Saucedo in fact did have a BMW but stopped driving it and changed his appearance after the final shooting.

The mother of a young man who was the second person killed wished police could have connected her son's death to the case earlier, potentially taking Saucedo off the streets before more killings were committed.

"He enjoys the cat and mouse chase with the police", added Mike Rustigan, a professor emeritus of criminal justice at San Jose State University who has studied serial killings.

The break in the case came when Saucedo was arrested last month in connection with the August 2015 fatal shooting of 61-year-old Raul Romero, who had a relationship with Saucedo's mother. Authorities say Saucedo did not know the other victims.

Police gave no details on a motive.

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