The two men charged in a series of random shootings had flagged down police officers arriving at the site of one of the attacks, authorities said Friday.

Sam Dieteman and Dale Hausner were at the scene of the May 30 shooting of James Hodge in west Phoenix and directed officers to the wounded man, police Sgt. Andy Hill said.

The men told officers they had been out looking for a missing cat and heard Hodge screaming, Hill said. Officers considered the men witnesses at the time, but also entered their names into a database assembled by a task force investigating the crimes.

Hodge survived, and Dieteman and Hausner are charged with his shooting. All together, the two face two counts of murder and 14 counts of attempted murder connected to a yearlong shooting spree across the metropolitan area.

Dieteman, 30, and Hausner, 33, were arrested in early August by a task force investigating 37 shootings dating back to May 2005. Seven people were killed and 17 wounded, and several animals also were shot.

The task force is also searching for another serial predator, dubbed the "Baseline Killer," who has been forensically linked to eight killings and several robberies.