PHOENIX (Reuters) - All five people shot dead by an elderly Arizona man on Thursday appear to have been targeted by him for the adversarial role they played in his bitter 2008 divorce, including his ex-wife, authorities said on Friday.
Carey Hal Dyess, 73, ended his six-hour rampage of bloodshed in and around Yuma by shooting himself to death on the outskirts of the southwestern Arizona town near the Mexican border.
Before he was done, his former wife, Theresa Sigurdson, 61, her divorce attorney, Jerrold Shelley, 62, and three of her friends lay dead, and a sixth victim was critically wounded.
“All the victims were friends and people who were supportive in her divorce,” Major Leon Wilmot, a Yuma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, told Reuters.
“That was the one thing that tied them all together.”
Shelley, who friends said was planning to retire at the end of this year, was shot in his law office in Yuma, the last victim gunned down before sheriff’s deputies found Dyess dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The one victim who survived was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix, where she remains in critical condition.
The shootings prompted a brief shutdown on Thursday of City Hall, a courthouse and several elementary schools in Yuma, a city of more than 100,000 about 160 miles southwest of Phoenix.
It also jangled nerves coming just five months after six people were killed and 13 others wounded, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in an unrelated shooting rampage across the state in Tucson.
Yuma Mayor Alan Krieger said on Friday that things are beginning to return to normal.
“It’s simply a vengeful act of a hurtful person,” he told Reuters. “Unfortunately, it happened in Yuma, Arizona, this time.”
Editing by Steve Gorman and Jerry Norton