PHOENIX – Police and city officials are turning to the city's Spanish-speaking community for help gathering information on two serial predators believed responsible for a combined 13 killings.
During a meeting Wednesday, they urged about 1,000 people who only speak Spanish or limited English to come forward with any tips. They also tried to assure anyone who might be in the country illegally to have no fear of reprimand if they do come forward.
"Our police department is there to protect and serve all of us, not to inquire as to anyone's immigration status," said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. "Anyone that knows anything that could lead to the arrest of these monsters or any violent criminals, please help — please help me, please help our city, please help your family."
Officials had already held a July meeting in English to inform the local residents about the killers and generate tips leading to their capture.
The Baseline Killer is believed responsible for killing seven women and one man and sexually assaulting eleven women and girls during the past year. The Serial Shooter is linked to five killings and the nonfatal shootings of 17 people.
Police told community members to be aware of their surroundings, trust their instincts and have a plan if they are ever attacked. Maria Hernandez, 31, works as a cook in Scottsdale, near Phoenix, and gets off work at 3 a.m.
"I'm scared. I leave work when it's dark and I don't know where he'll strike next," she said. "I'll be walking and I'll hear a noise and then I jump and I'm scared. I don't walk around a lot anymore."