MESA, Ariz. – Some 600 Mesa residents filled an elementary school as police tried to assure them they are doing everything they can to track down a serial killer.
A 22-year-old woman out walking late Sunday was shot and killed, and Mesa police called in Phoenix detectives to try to determine if the case is the latest in a string of serial shootings.
The incident was reported by several residents who called police after hearing gunshots in an area just north of Gilbert and Brown roads at about 11:15 p.m., Mesa police Sgt. Chuck Trapani said Monday.
Robin Blasnek had apparently been out walking alone when she was shot, Trapani said. She was alive when a neighbor found her but died later at a hospital.
Trapani said there are similarities to a string of crimes blamed on a person dubbed the Serial Shooter. That suspect is believed responsible for killing five people and wounding 17 others in the Phoenix area since May, 2005. But Trapani said it is too early to definitively link the woman's shooting to that case.
Sunday's incident happened about a mile from where a bicyclist was shot and wounded on July 22 in a case that has been linked to the Serial Shooter.
The Phoenix Police Department's serial killings task force was called in to help in the case, Trapani said. That task force is also investigating a second predator called the Baseline Killer who is blamed for eight murders in the Phoenix area.
"We are hoping for one priceless tip," Trapani said. "It doesn't matter how insignificant. What may seem insignificant to one person may be priceless to someone else, and it may be the most valuable clue in the investigation."
At Monday night's community meeting at Mesa's Edison Elementary School, some residents asked tough questions about authorities' efforts to track down the shooter.
"I want to know, 'How safe are my children? How safe is my house?"' said 31-year-old Kristan Smith.
"I have an apartment building," said Gary Rodriguez, a 46-year-old commercial landlord. "I am concerned about the safety of the people who rent from me."