PHOENIX – Phoenix police released a 911 recording Wednesday from a man who walked away uninjured from attack by a man believed to have fatally shot seven people and wounded two others earlier this year in a wave of serial killings.
The 22-year-old man told an operator on July 11 that a man in an early 1990s black BMW opened fire as he and his 4-year-old nephew were driving home. He said he ducked down with the child and kept driving once he saw the gun.
"He was driving around the corner and then he just like literally pulled out a gun and just shot on me while looking at me," the man said, noting later that none of the shots hit him or his nephew.
The 911 recording from the shooting — the last confirmed attack by the suspect known as the Serial Street Shooter — was released as police say the number of tips coming in from the public has dwindled at an alarming rate.
The cases remain a high priority for investigators, police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard said. "We feel there are people who either know who this man is or (have) strong suspicions," Howard said. "We need those people to reach out to us to share their suspicions."
Police say the victims were attacked as they stood outside their homes or sat in vehicles after dark. They were fired upon by someone who was sitting in a car or had just stepped out of a vehicle. All but one of the killings has taken place in the city's Maryvale section, a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood Phoenix's west side.
Investigators believe the crimes were carried out by a lanky Hispanic man in his early 20s, but they are leaving open the possibility that someone else may have participated in the attacks. They don't believe the attacks are racially motivated. No motive has been established.
The victims include a 21-year-old man whose girlfriend was pregnant with their son and a 12-year-girl who was shot to death along with her mother and a friend of the woman.
The July 11 shooting didn't occur in Maryvale, but rather in another neighborhood about 10 miles away.
The 22-year-old victim didn't see the suspect's license plate number, but he caught a glimpse of the shooter, describing him as a Hispanic man in his early 20s who had short black hair. "He saw me because I was riding with the windows down," the man told a 911 operator.
Investigators found three bullet holes on the victim's car and recovered five shell casings from the scene, a police report says.
In all, authorities say they have received more than 3,000 tips about the shootings that happened between March and July.
Investigators are continuing to analyze physical evidence recovered from the scenes, seek out neighbors who might have security camera footage of the shootings and work with community groups to seek out useful information, Howard said.
Tips that have already been investigated are being handed off to other officers to be re-examined in hopes that a fresh set of eyes will turn up something new.
There are several theories on why the killer hasn't struck in nearly five months, including that he has decided to stop the attacks, has been locked up in jail for other reasons or moved to another location, Howard said.
"We won't know what really happened until we capture him," he said.
Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/jacques-billeaud.