One person is dead and 12 more are injured after a male suspect went on a drive-by shooting spree throughout the West Valley Thursday morning.
The suspect, who police did not identify as of press time, has been arrested.
Police say there were eight shooting scenes throughout the northwest Valley Thursday. Four of the 13 victims, including the one dead, had gunshot wounds. The other nine had injuries from other causes, such as being hit by shrapnel or broken glass from a bullet shot through a car window or a car crash.
The deceased victim was found in their vehicle on Loop 101 near Thunderbird Avenue. Though some victims were hospitalized, police said the other 12 victims’ injuries are not life-threatening.
Surprise Police arrested the male suspect without incident near 147th and Grand avenues at 12:42 p.m. Thursday. Police say his shooting spree spanned an hour and a half on Thursday morning. He was driving a white Volkswagen Tiguan SUV.
Police are confident the arrested suspect was the only shooter.
“There’s no reason for the public to feel unsafe at this time,” said Surprise Police Sgt. Tommy Hale during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Police are asking anyone who might have witnessed one of these eight shootings to report what they saw.
“We want to know if you were there, if you saw anything at all. You might not think it’s something relevant, but call us anyways,” said Peoria Police Sgt. Brandon Scheffert.
Witnesses can call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-942-6377) or the Peoria Police Department at 623-773-8311.
Peoria Police is taking the lead on the interdepartmental investigation and will disperse tips to other departments as needed. Sgt. Scheffert said Peoria, Surprise and Glendale police departments, Arizona Department of Public Safety and the FBI are all involved in the investigation.
Scheffert said the FBI was included because of the scope of the incidents.
“Anything this scale, we coordinate with our local state and federal partners because there could be a number of things that could come up. So, they’re part of the process. They’re not necessarily involved like they’re doing the investigation or anything, but again, we have a good working relationship with our partners, so we want to make sure they’re involved in this.”
Police could not say anything about the shooter’s motive Thursday afternoon. Hale and Scheffert did not know what type of gun was used at the time of the news conference.
The locations of several of the eight shooting scenes were not released as of Thursday afternoon. The known sites included 114th Avenue and Bell Road in Surprise, Loop 303 and El Mirage Road in Sun City West, 103rd and Northern avenues in Peoria, and Loop 101 and Thunderbird Avenue in Peoria, where the victim was killed.
Scheffert said the first shooting scene was in Glendale near the Peoria border. Peoria Police were the first available to respond to that incident.
Hale said Surprise firefighters received the description of the suspect’s vehicle and a crew saw the vehicle on the road. They alerted Surprise Police who were able to make the traffic stop arrest shortly after.
Police officials stressed Thursday afternoon they are in the beginning stages of the investigation and will update the public as they learn more.
Mark Carlisle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or found on Twitter @mwcarlisle.