'Serial Street Shooter' Accused Of 9 Murders

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This photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows Aaron Saucedo, 23, who's suspected in the serial killings of nine people in the case authorities dubbed the Serial Street Shooter.

Update 8.17pm: A former bus driver arrested over a string of killings that terrorised several neighbourhoods of Phoenix, Arizona, has declared "I'm innocent" during a brief court hearing.

All but one of the killings took place in a predominantly Latino neighborhood between March and July of 2016.

Saucedo appeared in court late Monday night and a judge ordered him held without bail.

He faces 26 additional felony counts, including multiple counts of homicide, aggravated assault and drive-by shootings.

The so-called Serial Shooters randomly targeted pedestrians; Dale Hausner killed himself while in prison, and Samuel Dieteman is serving a life sentence.

Police say Saucedo shot at two teenage boys on March 17, 2016, striking one of them in the arm.

The Maricopa County attorney has not yet decided which charges to formally bring against him.

Authorities said they don't know of any motive for the shootings.

Police say they don't know what motivated Saucedo and that he didn't have any connection to any of the eight people who were killed.

"Today is a good day in the city of Phoenix", Mayor Greg Stanton said.

The first victim, police said, was Raul Romero, who was killed on August 16, 2015.

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While Monday's news puts to rest one mystery, another remains: The authorities said they were still investigating a series of shootings along highways in the Phoenix area that they said appeared to have no connection to the Saucedo case. The Associated Press was unable to reach Saucedo's public defender on Monday. He had already been charged with the murder of a 61-year-old man who was reportedly dating his mother, the BBC cited Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams as saying.

Police said most of the shootings happened in the low-income neighborhood of Maryvale as the victims walked down streets or stood in their yards.

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

The mother of Jesse Olivas, Lydia Lopez, said she had a feeling her son's death was linked to the "serial street shooter". He killed Manny Castro Garcia on June 10, 2016.

"But my son is not coming back", Ms Castro said. "I waited every day for justice, but things don't change. The pain is the same". She said her husband and his friends began hanging out in the backyard instead of the front after the shootings. Weapons technicians concluded only a Hi-Point gun could produce the markings they found, the report went on to say.

" 'I had a gut feeling it was him, ' she told paper on Monday".

April 1: Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, 21, killed at around 9:00 p.m.

Smith was seven months pregnant with the couple's child when Verdugo-Sanchez was fatally shot in front of a home.

Sylvia Ellis, the mother and grandmother of two victims, said she was reeling from news of the charges after the trail seemed to have grown cold for so long.

"[Police] said they couldn't give me a lot of details, as it's still an active case", Ellis said.

Investigators initially believed a serial shooter was responsible for seven deaths a year ago, but in recent weeks they determined two other victims - the one killed in August 2015 and another person slain in January 2016 - were shot by the so-called "serial street shooter" who they believe to be Saucedo.

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