Great Britain

Suspect in four murders in Arizona kills himself as police surround hotel room

A man suspected of killing four people in three days in Arizona, fatally shot himself as police prepared to enter his hotel room.

The alleged murderer has not yet been identified publicly, but Phoenix police sergeant Vince Lewis said the suspect was an adult male and likely shot at SWAT officers just before killing himself in a Scottsdale extended stay hotel. “We have a deceased suspect at this point, the primary person we were looking for,” he said.

Police said they believe the man who killed himself on Monday was responsible for the death of Dr Steven Pitt, a forensic psychiatrist who became well-known for his work on the infamous homicide investigation of JonBenet Ramsey, the six-year-old beauty queen found murdered in her Colorado home on Christmas Day 1996.

He had also helped investigators catch the “Baseline Killer,” Mark Goudeau, a serial murderer also in Arizona who was responsible for the deaths of nine people.

Police also said the suspect was likely responsible for the homicides of two paralegals who worked for the family law firm Burt, Feldman, Grenier. Forty-eight-year-old Veleria Sharp and Laura Anderson, 49, and marriage and divorce counsellor Marshall Levine, 72, all of the Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, area. Ms Sharp and Ms Anderson were killed within 24 hours of Mr Pitt, according to police.

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The manhunt for the suspect had left many in the local mental health community worried for their safety.

Erin M Nelson, who had worked with Mr Pitt for nearly 25 years, told the New York Times: “You have to be aware. Certainly everyone in this field understands that when you have human behaviour and human emotion involved, at times that results in dangerousness”.

Mr Lewis told the Associated Press that despite the suspect’s death, the investigation is “ongoing” and no possible motive has been released to the public as yet.

Going off a witness sketch of the suspect describing him as a bald man wearing a fedora-like, short-brimmed hat, police had tracked the suspect to the hotel in the wake of Mr Levine’s murder on Saturday evening.

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