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FBI Profilers Help Hunt for Phoenix Serial Shooter Who Killed Seven

The famed agents have visited the crime scenes.
In this Aug. 9, 2016 photo, a Maryvale resident looks at information on a flyer about a recent string of shootings by a serial killer in Phoenix.Beatriz Costa-Lima / AP

The FBI has dispatched its famed profilers to Phoenix to dig for clues to an elusive serial killer's identity and motivation.

Agents from the Behavioral Analysis Unit — the inspiration for movies and TV shows like "Criminal Minds" — have visited the crime scenes where the suspect has ambushed men, women and children, killing seven of them since March.

"They bring a unique insight," said Michael Caputo, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI in Phoenix.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Caputo declined to provide any details of the profile being developed — and local law enforcement officials said they expect the case to be broken by a tip from the public.

"We know that someone out there knows who this person is," Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said at a press conference Thursday, announcing a reward for information leading to the killer's capture has been upped to $75,000.

"No one in this community deserves to live in fear," he said. "No one deserves to worry about their kids being shot in the playground or whether they're going to be attacked on their way to the grocery store."

All the victims were on the street or in a car, usually near their home, when the gunman — who appears to have access to at least two cars — opened fire.

In this July 27, 2016, photo, the home where a suspected serial killer murdered a man earlier in the year is shown in Phoenix.Matt York / AP

In nine incidents, seven people have been killed. In the most recent shooting, a 22-year-old man driving home from the laundromat with his 4-year-old nephew narrowly escaped death on July 11.

His car was at a sign when the shooter's vehicle, likely a black BMW, turned right.

"When I saw the gun, I was shocked at first," the man, who asked not to be identified, told NBC affiliate KPNX. "It was kind of slow motion. Within seconds, I was like, 'OK, he just pulled out a gun. Is this really happening right now?'"

"And then that's when he began to fire," the survivor said. "So I looked away and reached for my nephew and the first thing that came to my mind was to get away from this guy as fast as possible."

He slammed on the accelerator and sped away. Police later found two bullet holes in the man's car, one in the passenger side and one in the driver's side.

Police said they have received 1,500 tips from the community and while none of them have panned out, they are hopeful someone will come forward with a detail that leads to the suspect.

"Serial killers like to brag about their atrocities that they commit," said David Gonzales, the U.S. marshal for Arizona. "We don't think that's any different with this case."

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery stressed that no one with an immigration issue should be hesitant about coming forward with a tip.

"Their immigration status will not be considered whatsoever," he said. "No charges whatsoever from my office."