Criminal Homicide is the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another generally, any death caused by injuries received in a fight, argument, quarrel, assault, or commission of a crime is classified as Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter (‘UCR Handbook’, 2010).
Aggravated Assault is an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied using a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm (‘UCR Handbook’, 2010).
In Phoenix, a serial shooter is on the loose. A serial killer is one of a series of murders, typically having similar characteristics, that are committed by the same person. The categories of Aggravated Assault include attempts or assaults to kill or murder; maiming; assault with a dangerous or deadly weapon; poisoning; mayhem; assault with disease (as in cases when the offender is aware that he/she is infected with a deadly disease and deliberately attempts to inflict the disease by biting, spitting, etc.
); and assault with explosives (‘UCR Handbook’, 2010). All assaults by one person upon another with the intent to maim, kill, or inflict severe bodily injury with the use of any dangerous weapon are classified as Aggravated Assault. (‘UCR Handbook’, 2010). It is not necessary that injury result from an aggravated assault when a gun, knife, or other weapon that could cause serious personal injury is used (‘UCR Handbook’, 2010).
From August 2015 to July 2016, the killer has attacked nine times, executing seven people and wounding two more.
The victims have been Latino and African American (‘Life in a Phoenix Neighborhood’, 2017). So far police have found no motive but based on what information I have found this crime falls into the Routine Activity Theory. There is opportunity along with routine activity’s (Scheuerman, 2019). The killer mostly strikes at night, picking people as they walk down the street or standing in front of their houses (‘Life in a Phoenix Neighborhood’, 2017). The victims appear to have been chosen at random, ranging in age from four to 55. This crime presents lack of capable guardians and availability of suitable targets. The killer was following Value – perceived value by the offender, either material or symbolic – Inertia – size and weight that makes the illegal treatment possible Visibility – physically visible to potential offenders – and Access – accessible to offenders (V.I.V.A) (Scheuerman, 2019). The killings stumped investigators for months, but they got a break when Saucedo was arrested in connection with the August 2015 fatal shooting of 61-year-old Raul Romero, who had a relationship with Saucedo’s mother. Authorities investigated Saucedo more closely and connected him to the other killings. Saucedo knew none of the victims except for Romero. Police have said the killer stalked neighborhoods in his car after dark, selecting victims who were standing outside homes or sitting in their cars before approaching them and opening fire.
As stated by the Merriam Webster dictionary, Modus operandi (M.O.) is a distinct pattern or method of operation that indicates or suggests the work of a single criminal in more than one crime. The M.O. of the shooter is he always arrives in a car, sometimes in a black BMW or Cadillac, and draws a handgun. Sometimes he stays in the car, other times he exits. Then, he fires multiple rounds and flees the scene. What has tied the killings together is the location. According to The Trace Article,” six of the victims have been killed in Maryvale, a predominantly Latino neighborhood situated just off the I-10 freeway in West Phoenix. Since the 1980’s, high crime rates and gang violence have beset this desert neighborhood.” (‘Life in a Phoenix Neighborhood’, 2017). Police arrested a former city bus driver in the killings, 23-year-old Aaron Juan Saucedo, who faces 26 felony counts of homicide, aggravated assault and drive-by-shooting for 12 shootings (McCallister, 2017). One of the cases contains a single charge of first-degree murder, that of the boyfriend of Saucedo’s mother, who was killed in 2015. The other indictment covers the other eight murders, and the County Attorney’s Office has filed its intent to seek the death penalty in the eight murders. Saucedo has not been convicted of any felonies — but the allegation is linked to the single murder charge, suggesting that that case will be tried first so that the aggravator will apply if Saucedo is found guilty. In the meantime, Saucedo is kept in solitary 24 hours a day and is allowed out of his cell into an adjoining day room with a telephone for an hour a day. The door from the cell to the day room opens at a different hour each day, and Saucedo is unaware until it happens.
According to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, there are 18 different ways to reduce the number of drive-by shootings, as listed: Focusing on proximate causes, targeting the activity, not the individual, understanding gang membership dynamics, conducting crackdowns, tracking current tensions and past altercations, prohibiting high-risk people from riding in cars with each other, closing streets, targeting gun traffickers, etc. (‘Center for Problem-Oriented Policing’, 2019). Even completely all these procedures will not eliminate drive-by shootings for good.
In conclusion, places like Phoenix and other urban areas are dangerous due to the routine activity theory along with many other reasons. Serial drive-by shootings are in every part of the world, hurting everyone that gets in their way. It is necessary to be careful when creating those routines in our daily life, because you never know who is watching. People must be informed about this, to make sure we are not creating these trends.