Neighbors heard a single gunshot Sunday night and rushed out to find a young woman dressed only in pajamas and blue fuzzy slippers dying on the street corner.
"I've been shot," were the last words 22-year-old Robin Blasnek spoke, according to a couple who live nearby and came out to help.
Police were investigating Monday whether Blasnek was the sixth homicide victim of the Serial Shooter, who investigators believe to be responsible for 35 shootings since May 2005, targeting people and animals around the Valley.
Sunday's shooting was about a mile from one on July 22 in which a bicyclist was wounded in the early hours north of Stapley Drive on Brown Road.
Blasnek was pronounced dead at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn shortly after the 11:17 p.m. shooting.
"Somebody's baby got killed last night, that's got to be hard," said the woman who held Blasnek as she lay on the sidewalk at Grandview Drive and Gilbert Road, bleeding from a fatal gunshot wound.
The woman, who didn't want her name disclosed for safety reasons, lives in the neighborhood of the shooting.
She and her husband were watching a movie when they heard a loud bang. The couple and several of their older children ran outside where they saw Blasnek, kneeling on the sidewalk.
The woman's family grabbed some rags to try to stop the bleeding. Soon, an ambulance arrived and took Blasnek to the hospital.
"It was very short. It didn't last very long," the woman said.
Roy Stockton, who lives across the street from the incident, said he heard a loud bang and went outside to investigate, believing something had happened in his backyard.
Stockton said he saw neighbors tending to the wounded woman.
"It's way too close to home," he said.
Blasnek was shot almost a mile from her house.
Jenna Galas, a high school friend of Blasnek's, said Blasnek was walking to her boyfriend's house only blocks away to "surprise him." Galas and Blasnek had been out to dinner at Olive Garden with friends earlier in the evening.
"She had walked in the middle of the night before and we told her not to, but she didn't listen," Galas said.
Later that night, hours after Blasnek had been taken home by her friends, Blasnek began walking down the street and calling friends along the way on her cell phone.
"She called me and left a message," Galas said. "I didn't answer the phone because I was asleep. She told me it was fun and that we should hang out again.
"I will never, ever delete this message."
Rudy Reyes Jr., 20, said Blasnek was on her way to his house when she was killed. He said they were talking on her cell phone when he heard what sounded like a gunshot. Then, he said, the phone went dead.
"I kept saying 'Call back, call back,' but I didn't get anything," he said.
Reyes, who said he was a close friend of Blasnek's, received a call from detectives at 7 a.m. to hear the news of her death.
"It's like a bomb being dropped on you and it hits you all at once," he said. "I was just like I don't want to believe it, I don't want to believe it happened — but it did.
Sgt. Chuck Trapani, Mesa police spokesman, said Blasnek had no identification on her, so detectives had to identify her by going through the last calls on her cell phone.
"I don't think the family knew where she was. I think the family believed she was still in the house," Trapani said.
Trapani said there are some similarities to the July 22 shooting, and he said detectives are sharing information with a Phoenix Police Department task force set up to catch the Serial Shooter and the Baseline Killer, who police believe has killed eight people in a separate spree.
Sgt. Andy Hill, Phoenix police spokesman, said the task force might know by today whether Sunday's shooting is linked to the Serial Shooter, who randomly targets people who are out walking, riding bicycles or waiting at bus stops late at night.
Blasnek's father, Steven Blasnek, said police knocked on his door at 5 a.m. to notify him his daughter was dead.
Friends said the family lost another daughter in a car crash about 10 years ago.
Hill said four shootings by the Serial Shooter are linked by forensic evidence and that the other 31 are linked geographically and by method.
The Baseline Killer, who has been attacking people since at least September, is also believed to be responsible for 15 other rapes and robberies.
- Tribune writer Brent Ruffner contributed to this report