Police comment about man once eyed in Phoenix serial street shootings

Police say Frank Taylor had access to a gun and listed several addresses in the area where five of the seven serial shooting victims were killed, but police couldn’t find the evidence to connect him to the killing spree. 

KPHO

PHOENIX - For the first time, Phoenix police are commenting publicly about a man they once investigated in connection with the serial street shooting case, reports CBS affiliate KPHO.

Last year, seven people were killed and four others injured in nine shootings spread over a four-month period. The gunman opened fire seemingly at random.

Now, just before the one-year anniversary of the March 17 start of the spree, police say that “several tips” came in pointing to Frank Taylor, 27, as the possible shooter.

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Seven people were killed in 2016 by a possible serial shooter in the Phoenix area

KPHO

KPHO reports that Frank Taylor was killed in an armed robbery attempt last August, a few weeks after the last of the serial shootings. Glendale police say he pointed a gun at a woman and her two friends outside of a Circle K and demanded her gun, which was holstered. The woman, fearing for her life, shot Taylor.

According to the station, Taylor had a criminal past, access to a gun and listed several addresses in the Maryvale area where five of the seven victims who died were killed.

Tipsters also pointed out his resemblance to the suspect sketch circulated by police and the fact that after Taylor’s death, the shootings stopped.

“Our detectives did research that. They did investigate, but they were unable to gather enough evidence to link him to this crime,” Sgt. Jonathan Howard said.

As that tip and many others fizzled, investigators continue to work on the case and the anniversary is something they’re keenly aware of for a few reasons.

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Suspect in the serial shootings reported in the Phoenix area.

KPHO

“There’s going to be a lot of families mourning the loss of a loved one again here in the next few months,” said Sgt. Howard.

Investigators have received more than 3,000 tips in the case but as more time passes, public interest fades, and fewer tips are called in. 

The last shooting was on July 11. A man and a child were targeted as they sat in their car, but were not hit.

“I used to get calls every day. Now, I get calls every month,” said Sgt. Howard.

The task force assembled to help solve the case is still intact, and detectives work every tip and investigate lead they can get their hands on.

There are several theories about who may be responsible but Sgt. Howard said they think the most likely scenario is that it’s one man pulling the trigger, although he said there might be another person who has “great knowledge” about it.

Asked why the shootings stopped, Sgt. Howard says there are lots of theories.

“Is he dead? Is he incarcerated? Has he just chosen to stop his crimes?” Sgt. Howard asked. “We don’t know and we don’t know if he has an additional trigger.”

Which is why police are once again appealing to the public for help asking anyone who may have information to call Silent Witness at either 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 1-800-343-TIPS (8477). Spanish speakers may call 480-TESTIGO (837-8446)

There is still a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.