A pair of serial killers who have left behind no known witnesses and little evidence in their Valley crime sprees have officers meeting in person, talking on the phone and sending e-mails in their hunt for the criminals.
The Baseline Killer and Serial Shooter, linked to a total of 13 deaths, have committed crimes in Phoenix, Avondale, Tolleson, Tempe, Scottsdale and most recently in Mesa.
A 186-member task force in Phoenix, where the serial killers have predominately struck, is leading the hunt for the criminals, but police from across the Valley are coming together to share tips, notes and any clues.
For agencies such as the Mesa Police Department, which is focusing on a July 22 shooting possibly linked to the Serial Shooter, the cases take top priority.
During the early morning hours a bicyclist was shot and wounded while riding alone on Stapley Drive north of Brown Road. He never saw the shooter or the vehicle the person was in, said Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Chuck Trapani.
Patrol officers who responded to the shooting notified the department’s detective bureau of the similarities to other cases connected to the Serial Shooter, Trapani said.
“Late Saturday morning (July 22) we started discussing the case with Phoenix and they were trying to put the similarities together,” Trapani said. “Monday we really felt that there was a remote possibility that this might be a similar case.”
Detectives from both agencies this past week have maintained contact. According to Trapani, Phoenix officers showed Mesa police how they’re investigating the crimes, and both agencies shared ideas.
The Serial Shooter, who has shot animals in Avondale and Tolleson, also is believed to have killed a woman May 2 in the 6100 block of East Thomas Road in Scottsdale, police said.
Scottsdale police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark said Scottsdale police are doing whatever is needed to solve the case. One Scottsdale detective has been assigned to Phoenix, Clark said.
Phoenix police believe the Baseline Killer, connected Friday to two more deaths, first killed in Tempe.
On Sept. 8, Georgia Thompson, 19, was killed in the parking lot of a Tempe apartment complex where she lived.
Tempe police have joined in the Valleywide investigation, placing one detective in a liaison role with Phoenix police, but they haven’t eliminated other possibilities in Thompson’s death, police spokesman Officer Brandon Banks said.
“We don’t want to rule out the Baseline Killer as being a part of it, but we are not saying that it is definitely linked, either,” Banks said.