1 killed, 5 injured, in Mesa, Arizona multiple shooting; Gunman in custody after manhunt

Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Police say they have captured the gunman responsible for shooting at least six people at multiple locations in Mesa, Arizona. One person died, and another is in critical condition. The suspect was captured in the Phoenix suburb.

“At 1:09 this afternoon, we took the suspect into custody that was responsible for these shootings,” Mesa Police Department Interim Chief John Meza told reporters. The suspect was captured a little over a mile south of the first scene without any shots fired.

“[The suspect] was hiding in a vacant condo, and when the Mesa SWAT team was checking the complex door-to-door, he was spotted on the balcony. He was taken inside the condo,” MPD Detective Estaban Flores said during the afternoon briefing. “He surrendered after being tased.”

There were at least four confirmed shooting scenes in Mesa, although there could be as many as five or six different locations, Florez told reporters during an earlier briefing.

The first shooting occurred at the Tri-City Inn around 8:40 a.m. local time, when three people were shot in a motel room after an argument. One man was killed, while two women were injured and transported to a hospital. The gunman continued shooting outside.

“We believe he knew the first victims, at the motel. There was some sort of altercation or argument at that time,” Flores said.

The suspect then fled to Bistro 13, a nearby restaurant run by the East Valley Institute of Technology. There he shot an adult EVIT student in the shoulder. The male victim ran across West Main Street to get help from the paramedics at the first shooting scene. He has been transported to the hospital.

The gunman then stole a car from an EVIT teacher and fled the location. The grey Honda Accord was not located until just before he was captured, Florez said.

A bullet struck a car on Main Street in Mesa, shattering a window, but the woman driving did not appear to be injured, KPHO reported.

The gunman fled to the Sorrento apartment complex on South Dobson, where he attempted a home invasion. During that try, the suspect shot and injured a man, Florez said. A man who called 911 from that location said a woman inside the complex was held at gunpoint by the suspect, who asked for her car keys and cell phone, KNXV reported.

A police officer then found another male victim at a different apartment complex nearby. That victim is in critical condition after receiving multiple gunshots, Florez said.

“We believe the motive at the other locations was robbery, transportation and trying to get away,” the detective said.

The suspect is described as a bald, white male in his 40s, with tattoos on his face and neck. He is wearing a black shirt and black shorts.

“The [suspect’s] name will not be given out, so as not to jeopardize the investigation because there are still witnesses to be interviewed,” Florez said, adding that the police would release a photo of the man “shortly.”

SWAT teams and law enforcement agents from multiple jurisdictions worked together to conduct the nearly four-hour manhunt. Officers searched through multiple apartment complexes, including stopping all cars driving by to search trunks.

After the gunman was arrested, he was brought out to a transport vehicle wearing a biological evidence suit and shackles. Protective suits are often used on suspects whose clothing may contain DNA and other evidence, Florez said.

The suspect was transported to Banner Desert Hospital after his capture.