PHOENIX (Reuters) - A man suspected of killing six people, including a noted psychiatrist who advised prosecutors investigating high-profile murders, killed himself on Monday as police closed in on the Phoenix-area hotel where he was staying, police said.
Investigators had been searching for Dwight Jones, 56, since psychiatrist Steven Pitt, 59, was found dead outside his office on Thursday, the first of a string of killings that left the Phoenix area on edge.
Pitt consulted on serial killings and the 1996 murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
Jones fatally shot himself in a hotel room as tactical units closed in to arrest him, police said on Monday. Police originally said the suspect killed four people but on Monday said there were two additional victims.
DNA found on shell casings at the murder scenes and ballistic evidence linked the crimes and led police to Jones, Scottsdale Police Assistant Chief Rich Slavin told a news conference.
“We had a positive hit on Mr. Jones that connects him to all the scenes,” he said.
Police believe he may have been seeking revenge from a 2009 divorce case.
In a statement, ex-wife Connie Jones said her former husband was an emotionally disturbed person.
“Personally, I have feared for my safety for the past nine years. I cannot express the emotions I feel for the innocent families touched by this senseless violence,” she said.
Pitt was discovered dead outside his office on Thursday, police said, noting that witnesses said they heard a loud argument followed by several gunshots.
Pitt had been a consultant in several high-profile cases, including the 2005-2006 Baseline Killer murders that claimed the lives of nine people. He also served as a consultant to prosecutors in the grand jury probe into the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, who was found bludgeoned and strangled in her parents’ Boulder, Colorado home. No charges were ever filed in that case.
The additional victims were identified as paralegals Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, who were shot in their legal office in downtown Scottsdale on Friday, police said.
Marshall Levine, a 72-year-old counselor and psychologist, was found dead in his office on Saturday, police said.
On Monday, police said they found 70-year-old Mary Simmons and 72-year-old Bryon Thomas shot dead inside a Fountain Hills home.
Additional reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver and Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Marguerita Choy, Chris Reese and Michael Perry