MESA, Ariz. (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire inside a motel room in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa on Wednesday, killing a man and wounding two women before shooting three more people as he sought to elude an exhaustive manhunt that ended in his capture, police said.
Officers using a stun gun subdued the suspected gunman at a vacant condominium where he had taken refuge, some four hours after the initial shooting, Mesa police spokesman Esteban Flores told reporters.
“At this time we believe he is responsible for each and every one of these shootings,” Flores said. Police said the motive for the rampage was still unclear but that the initial gunfire erupted following an argument at the motel.
“Everything else seemed to be random at that point,” Flores said. “We believe his motive at the other locations was robbery and carjackings and just trying to get away.”
Local NBC affiliate 12 News showed the man being led out of the residential complex in a white full-body suit, his wrists shackled, and taken to a local hospital.
“That is something investigators use if they’re going to be protecting his clothing for evidence,” Flores said of the suit.
The suspected gunman was not publicly named by authorities, but the Arizona Republic newspaper identified him as Ryan Elliot Giroux, citing a Mesa police source. A hospital official confirmed to Reuters that Giroux was treated at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa on Wednesday and released into police custody.
Anti-hate group the Southern Poverty Law Center, citing a retired Mesa police detective, identified Giroux, 41, as a member of skinhead and white supremacist groups who had served prison time for burglary and marijuana possession and attempted aggravated assault.
Wednesday’s violence began at the Tri City Inn in Mesa when the gunman opened fire on a man and two women following some kind of altercation, then fled to a nearby restaurant where he shot and wounded a student while carjacking the man’s vehicle, Flores said.
The suspect then drove to two nearby apartment complexes, shooting one person at each, Flores said.
The man shot at the motel died, and one of the surviving victims was listed in critical condition at a Phoenix-area hospital. Authorities did not immediately release information on the remaining victims.
Tanya Ehrig, who said her sister was present at the motel when gunfire erupted there, told local ABC 15 News that her sister’s boyfriend was killed in that altercation.
“I seen this whole thing blocked off and I couldn’t get a hold of her. I couldn’t call her, I thought something was wrong with her. And she (later) told me that her boyfriend got shot and now he’s gone,” Ehrig said.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement he had spoken to the mayor of Mesa and offered resources, including from the Department of Public Safety.
Reporting by David Schwartz in Mesa and Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Lisa Lambert, Bill Trott, Eric Beech and Mohammad Zargham