Police in the Arizona city of Phoenix believe a serial killer may be responsible for a string of apparently random shootings which have left seven people dead and three seriously wounded since March (2016). A 12-year-old girl was one of those murdered, along with her mother. The attacks have spread fear through the city, with many shops closing early as most of the shootings take place late at night.

The killings began on 17 March when a 16-year-old boy was shot dead as he walked down the street at 11.30 pm. On 12 June Stefanie Ellis, 33, her daughter Maleah, 12, and family friend Angela Linner were shot as they listened to music in a car. Maleah and Angela died at the scene. Stefanie Ellis survived but died in hospital. Other victims include Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, Krystal White, Horacio De Jesus Pena, and Manuel Castro Garcia.

Stefanie Ellis's brother Dewayne Ellis told KPHO: "It wasn't no drive-by. They walked up to that car, and they shot — they executed — for whatever reason. That's my baby, and that's my sister. My little niece didn't do nothing to nobody; my sister didn't do nothing to nobody."

An $11,000 (£8,300) reward has been offered for information leading to the capture of the suspect, and an artist impression published from a description made by an eyewitness. According to Fox10 he is described as a Hispanic male, 30-to-35-years-old, medium build, wearing red shorts, a white T-shirt, and armed with a semi-automatic gun. He was last seen driving a light colored four-door vehicle.

Phoenix Police Department are desperate to find whoever is responsible before they strike again. "Someone out there knows who did this. We need our community to call us or Silent Witness and help us solve these cases, bring justice to these families and victims, and prevent more violence from occurring," said Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner.

Phoenix shooting victims
From left, clockwise: Krystal White, Maleah Ellis, Stefanie Ellis, Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, Manuel Castro Garcia, Horacio De Jesus Pena, Angela Linner Handouts