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Phoenix Serial Shootings: Four More Crimes Added to Deadly Pattern

Police say they have now connected eight shootings since March.
Police released this sketch of a suspect in a series of unsolved homicides that have occurred in west Phoenix.
Police released this sketch of a suspect in a series of unsolved homicides that have occurred in west Phoenix.Phoenix Police Department

Phoenix police have tied four more shootings — including a murder — to a string of incidents they believe are the work of a possible serial killer.

Investigators have now released a sketch of the gunman, who is suspected of killing seven people since March 18. The motive is unknown.

"it's scary just knowing that somebody is out there taking innocent lives — someone's mother, someone's daughter — for no reason, and nobody has any answers," said BreAngela White, who just learned that her mother's April 19 slaying was linked to the others.

Last month, cops announced that they had connected four shootings in the Maryvale neighborhood in which victims were ambushed outside their homes, near their cars. Law enforcement sources told NBC News that physical evidence links the murders.

As part of the investigation, police began reviewing all shootings since the start of the year — a process that revealed four more crimes as part of the pattern.

The connected shootings include:

  • A 16-year-old boy wounded while walking in the street at 11:30 p.m. on March 17
  • A 21-year-old male shot standing near his car on the street at 11:30 p.m. on March 18
  • Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, 21, killed April 1 while visiting his pregnant fiancée's family
  • Krystal Annette White, 55, found dead of a gunshot on April 19
  • Horacio Pena, 32, fatally shot June 3 after returning home from his job at a group home
  • Manuel Castro Garcia, 19, murdered outside his home on June 10
  • Stefanie Ellis, 33, her 12-year-old daughter Maleah and friend Angela Linner, 31, killed outside their home on June 12
  • An unoccupied car shot up at 2:35 a.m. on June 12.

The spate of shootings has sent a current of fear through the working-class neighborhood. The Guardian Angels neighborhood-watch group have been patrolling, and some shopkeepers are closing early since the shootings have occurred after dark.

For BreAngela White, the news that her mother Krystal's death may have been caused by a serial killer opened wounds but also made sense because she could not imagine she was targeted by someone she knew.

"She was a beautiful person inside and out," she said of the mother of six. "A real loving person."

She said her mother was visiting an elderly friend and might have run out to the store when she was gunned down.

"It's hard to accept the fact that she's really gone and she is not coming back," said White, adding that she hoped someone would come forward with information leading to the killer.

"You can't get closure knowing the person is still out there," she said.

Krystal White sits with her granddaughter, Charlie Raye.Courtesy of BreAngela White