For four long months, the residents of the Phoenix, Arizona community of Maryvale lived in a state of fear. An unknown shooter was on the loose and seemingly killing at random. Nine people succumbed to the shooter, most while entering or exiting their vehicle and all of them completely caught off guard. Two of those targeted by the shooter were able to survive the attack.
The terror began on March 16, 2016. A 16-year-old boy was shot while walking along the 1000 block of East Moreland Street at approximately 11:30 pm. The boy’s injuries were non-fatal.
At approximately the same time the following night, a 21-year-old man had been standing outside of his vehicle on the 4300 block of North 73rd Avenue when the shooter struck. His injuries were also non-fatal.
About two weeks later, Diego Verdugo-Sanchez had been standing outside of a home near Campbell and 55th avenues. It was approximately 9 pm when a vehicle approached the home and shot him. He died at the hospital later that night.
It was 4:40 am on April 19, when police were called to the area of 32nd Street and Van Buren Street when residents complained of hearing gunshots in the area. Along the side of the road, police found a 55-year-old Hispanic woman who appeared to have been shot and killed. She was later identified as Krystal Annette White.
On June 3 tragedy would strike again. 32-year-old Horacio De Jesus Pena was a community outreach worker who had just finished cooking dinner with a group of men and women suffering from cerebral palsy. He was leaving for the night when shots rang out. A white Cadillac or Lincoln was seen leaving the scene.
A week later, 19-year-old Manuel “Manny” Castro Garcia had been standing near the 6500 block of West Coronado Road when he would become the sixth victim of the unknown gunman. It was just after 9:30 pm.
On June 12 there were two incidents believed to have been related to the unknown shooter. At approximately 2:35 am, police discovered an unoccupied vehicle with bullet holes. Less than half an hour later, police were called after two women and a girl were shot in a parked car outside a home on the 6300 block of West Berkeley Road. 31-year-old Angela Linner and 12-year-old Maleah Ellis were pronounced dead at the scene. The second woman and Maleah’s mother, Stefanie Ellis, would die at the hospital two weeks later.
The killer’s last suspected victims were a 21-year-old man and 4-year-old boy who had been inside a vehicle near 30th and Sheridan streets. Neither of the victims were injured.
Police were able to get a composite sketch but many months had passed without narrowing in on a suspect. It wouldn’t be until May of 2017 that police believed they got their man.
Aaron Saucedo was taken into custody in April 2017 for shooting and killing his mother’s boyfriend, Raul Romero, in August of 2015. Saucedo is suspected of being the mysterious shooter who terrorized the Maryvale area of Phoenix throughout the summer of 2016.
In addition to the murder of Romero, Saucedo is currently facing 26 additional charges for the serial shootings.