For over a year, serial killing suspect went undiscovered

Aaron Rothe

Police in the U.S. state of Arizona say a man arrested last month is responsible for a series of deadly shootings in Phoenix a year ago.

According to police, at least seven people were killed by the murderer who randomly opened fire on pedestrians and cars in areas of west Phoenix.

Williams announced Saucedo has been linked to eight other shootings, bringing to nine the total number of killings investigators linked to him.

Phoenix PD spokesperson Sgt. Jonathan Howard said there are now 12 shootings and nine deaths linked to the Serial Street Shooter, who kept the Valley on edge during the summer of 2016, centering mostly on the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix.

The mother of Jesse Olivas, Lydia Lopez, said she had a feeling her son's death was linked to the "serial street shooter".

The Phoenix police chief and mayor appeared alongside other top officials including the county's top prosecutor to announce the break in a case that had appeared largely stalled in recent months as leads and tips dried up.

"Now my heart goes out to those families, and I hope they can get justice, too", said Lora Romero.

The case finally broke 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.

A shooter stalked victims after dark and gunned them down as they stood outside their homes or sat in their cars. He has been charged with 26 additional felony counts, police said.

Police arrested Saucdeo in that case after finding a pistol he'd sold at a pawn shop and matching it to evidence found at the crime scene, court documents said.

One tipster could receive a $75,000 reward for information leading to the arrest, police said.

- Diego Verdugo-Sanchez was shot dead on April 1, 2016 in front of his home. Authorities investigated Saucedo more closely and connected him to the serial killings. But then police got a lead from the community that led them to take a closer look at Saucedo.

"It's been said that a serial killer is like a chameleon, and that's what made this case so frustrating", U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said in a press conference.

When the shootings stopped last July, investigators said Saucedo likely changed his appearance and started driving a different auto.

Two investigators were outside the home when Arizona Republic reporters showed up last month but would not confirm the reason for their presence. Saucedo struck again the following day, shooting a 21-year-old man who also lived, according to reports.

" 'I had a gut feeling it was him, ' she told paper on Monday".

Monday's announcement of Saucedo's arrest and linking to the serial street shootings was news that not only the victims' families have been waiting for, but also people who live in the neighborhoods where the shootings took place.

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