A man has been detained in a series of shootings that took place in Phoenix over the course of approximately one year. The shootings were unrelated to a series of 2015 highway shootings in the area.
The suspect in a string of murders that took place in a Phoenix, Arizona neighborhood throughout 2015 and 2016 was arrested on Monday.
The man, Aaron Juan Saucedo, faces 26 separate felony charges of homicide, aggravated assault and drive-by shooting, according to Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams. Phoenix police say Saucedo was responsible for 12 separate shootings and nine deaths.
"This case plagued our community for more than a year…and left behind a trail of victims that included mothers, sons, brothers, sisters and families still mourning the loss of their loved ones," said Williams.
Many of the shootings took place in a predominately Latino neighborhood of the Arizona state capital. Saucedo is not believed to have personally known any of the victims, except for the first. Saucedo's first victim was a man who had a relationship with his mother. The victim, Raul Romero, was killed in August 2015.
Phoenix police said the shootings in the Phoenix neighborhood were not related to 2015 highway shootings in the Phoenix area. However, the Department of Public Safety said the gun used to kill Romero was test-fired as a part of the highway shooting investigation. The firearm was returned to the pawn shop after testing because police identified who they believed was the prime suspect in the highway shootings, though the suspect was later released.
Residents of Maryvale neighborhood, where most of the shootings took place, expressed relief upon hearing of the arrest.
"I'm happy my kids are going to be able to walk outside and I won't have to fear that they're going to get shot," said Rose Pastrana, who leads a block watch group in the neighborhood.
kbd/kl (AP, dpa)