We can breathe a little easier this morning. Valley law enforcement arrested two men in north Mesa late Thursday who police say were responsible for a collection of killings and other crimes referred to collectively as the Serial Shooter case.
Dale Hausner, 33, and Samuel Dieteman, 31, become the focus of a massive task force investigation Monday, less than 24 hours after the latest random shooting of someone walking down a busy street alone late at night.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said at a news conference Friday morning that police had the “two monsters we have been hunting,” ending a shooting spree that had stretched from Mesa and Scottsdale to east Phoenix and the West Valley since May 2005.
We wish Gordon and police officials at the news conference had discussed at least a few details about how police tracked down these suspects, so the public could truly share in their confidence that the real killers are no longer free. But we’ll trust their assurances for now, with the knowledge that this investigation is complex and far-reaching and more time is needed to sort everything out.
What we did discover from the news conference is a strong sense of camaraderie and partnership among various city police departments and several federal agencies that are part of the task force. Scottsdale police chief Alan G. Rodbell, Mesa interim chief Greg Fowler and Phoenix chief Jack Harris were among those who praised with genuine warmth the cooperation among cities and other governments. Unlike what we hear about in other parts of the country, we have watched for months as these agencies set aside any rivalries to work together in gathering leads and reviewing tips from the public to find the suspects.
We can’t let our guards down entirely. Police are still searching for a second serial criminal called the Baseline Rapist, who has assaulted or killed a number of victims include a woman in the parking lot of her Tempe apartment complex. And other crimes continue to occur with much less attention than these cases have received.
But for now, we can breathe a little easier.