'Serial Street Shooter' Accused of 9 Murders

The attacks had spread fear through Phoenix a year ago, with many shops closing early as most of the shootings took place late at night.

All of the killings took place in Hispanic neighborhoods.

He made the claim in his first court appearance Monday night.

The Associated Press reports that Saucedo faces a total of "26 felony counts of homicide, aggravated assault and drive-by-shooting". Most of the killings happened in a largely Latino neighborhood.

The hunt for the killer yielded more than 30,000 tips, and authorities said it was a tipster who provided the break in the case. Investigators allege Saucedo pulled up alongside the vehicle and opened fire, hitting the victims more than 30 times.

Aaron Juan Saucedo said "I'm innocent" during a brief initial court appearance.

"This is a good day in the city of Phoenix", Stanton said.

The city's fear peaked because most of the killings came in a cluster, with seven people slain in a two-and-a-half-month period last spring.

A $75,000 reward will be paid, police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard said.

Saucedo was initially arrested last month in connection with the August 2015 shooting death of 61-year-old Raul Romero.

A tip from the community led investigators to Aaron Saucedo, 23, and detectives were able to link him to the string of attacks by analyzing ballistics evidence, surveillance video and witness statements, police said.

Saucedo, who has been in custody since April, pleaded not guilty to that charge.

Police say it appears Saucedo didn't know any of the victims except for his mother's boyfriend, Raul Romero, who was found shot to death in his driveway.

Authorities say Saucedo didn't know the other victims.

It wasn't the first time a gunman has gone on an extended and random shooting spree in Arizona.

"As we turn over our investigation to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for prosecution, we hope that our community will rest a little easier and that our officers will get a little more sleep knowing that the wheels of justice are finally in motion", Williams said.

The mother of Jesse Olivas, Lydia Lopez, said she had a feeling her son's death was linked to the "serial street shooter".

Manuel Castro Garcia, 19, was murdered outside his home on June 10, 2016. "But my son is not coming back", Castro said. Every day I would just pass by and touch it and pray, "Lord get him. The pain is the same".

She said he preferred playing basketball with friends to partying.

"It was a real shock and a real loss because he was always involved in our lives and to have him taken away from us like that was a really bad thing to go through", she said.

"I had a gut feeling it was him", she told the Republic.

April 1, 2016: A 21-year-old man, Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, was shot and killed in front of a home around 9 p.m.

Ms Smith said she had grown frustrated over the past year as detectives kept her in the dark about the investigation. They followed the evidence, they were thorough. In addition to Romero's murder, he was charged with the seven homicides that made up the original pattern, and a ninth slaying that had not previously been linked to the serial murders - the fatal shooting of Jesse Olivas, 22, on January 1, 2016.

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