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Phoenix police say 34 shootings likely connected, ask for public's help

The Associated Press

PHOENIX- Thirteen random shootings during the past two months are probably connected to an earlier set of assaults, slayings and animal shootings in the city, with 34 shootings in all now believed to be tied to the same suspect or suspects, police said. Four people have been killed.

Everything about the serial shootings points to the same perpetrators, but very little is known about them, Phoenix police Cmdr. Bill Louis said at a press briefing Tuesday. He said detectives need the public's help to break the case.

"We have no description," Louis said. "This has been very perplexing for us. To have this many incidents without at least one witness, it's not making sense."

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon announced a $100,000 reward for information about the serial shooter or a second serial criminal know as the Baseline Rapist.

Louis said the first shootings were reported in May 2005 and the most recent early Saturday morning. Four people have died _ two homeless men, a woman and a man sitting at a bus stop.

Police announced the most recent series of 13 shootings on Saturday, but did not conclusively connect them with the earlier shootings. That changed Tuesday, when Sgt. Andy Hill said investigators had connected the two sets of violent crimes after discovering new information. Hill would not elaborate on the kind of information police received.

"We believed this possibility existed all along," Hill said.

The serial shootings have been concentrated on major Phoenix streets, occurring late at night or in the early morning and targeting lone pedestrians.

Detectives have been tracking the shootings as part of an unusual crime wave in Phoenix. Since August, a separate task force also has been trying to catch a serial killer dubbed the Baseline Rapist who they believe is responsible for five killings and a series of rapes and assaults.

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