- Arizona cops linked three murders in two days and fear a fourth is connected
- Dr. Steven Pitt, 59, was shot dead outside his Scottsdale office on Thursday
- He assisted in the investigations of the 1996 death of JonBenet Ramsey
- Paralegals Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, were killed on Friday
- They were shot dead in their law firm specializing in divorce and family law
- A fourth unidentified man was shot dead in a nearby office park early Saturday
- Cops are reportedly seeking a specific suspect but remain mum on details
This man is sought in the first three shootings in the Phoenix suburbs in recent days
Fears are mounting of a serial spree shooter in the Phoenix suburbs, after cops linked the killings of two women to the murder of a high-profile forensic psychologist who consulted on the JonBenet Ramsey case, and investigate whether a fourth murder is linked.
Police in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale said the killings on Friday of paralegals Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, were related to the fatal shooting in Phoenix a day earlier of Dr. Steven Pitt.
Scottsdale police spokesman, Sgt. Ben Hoster, would not disclose what connected the first three victims, saying that was part of the investigation.
Cops are investigating the possibility that a fourth shooting early on Saturday in a nearby office park is also connected.
A suspect sketch was released after Pitt’s shooting, showing a bald white male. Investigators reportedly are seeking a specific suspect after the law office shooting, but have not released any details, possibly to avoid spooking the suspect.
Veleria Sharp (left) and Laura Anderson (right) were shot dead on Friday at the law office where they work, which focuses exclusively on mediation and family law litigation
Sharp’s husband, Saber Sharp (with her above), said in a statement that ‘the world lost one of the finest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing’
After one victim crawled for help despite a gunshot wound to the head, cops followed a trail of blood back to this building (file photo), the law office of Burt, Feldman, and Grenier
Police are investigating a string of shootings (above) in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale
The law office shootings are linked to the Thursday murder of forensic psychiatrist Pitt (left) who helped investigate the high profile 1996 JonBenet Ramsey (right) murder case
The second shooting, of Sharp and Anderson, occurred around 2.15pm on Friday at the Law Office of Burt, Feldman, and Grenier, which focuses exclusively on mediation and family law litigation.
One woman, despite being shot in the head, crawled from the building and onto the sidewalk on East 1st Street across from the Civic Center Library, where she flagged down a bus driver.
The driver called 911 and cops and paramedics rushed to the scene. But the woman was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital minutes later.
Police on the scene spotted a trail of blood and followed it into a nearby building, the office of Burt, Feldman, and Grenier, where they found a second shooting victim.
She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Sharp’s husband, Saber Sharp, said in a statement that ‘the world lost one of the finest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.’
‘We welcome your love and prayers but will not be answering any questions at this time,’ he added.
The firm law firm where Sharp and Anderson worked issued a statement saying the women were treasured by co-workers who were mourning their deaths and helping police with the investigation.
Sharp was praised as a wife and mother who cherished music and her faith. Anderson was described as a grandmother and mother with intellect and passion.
Just 10 hours after the murder of Sharp and Anderson, and about six miles away, a male victim was fatally shot in an office park.
Scottsdale Police Sgt. Ben Hoster (left) speaks to a reporter at the scene of the fourth murder on Saturday morning. Cops are investigating whether it is linked to the first three
Officers were called around 12.10am on Saturday about someone being fatally shot inside this business. The male victim has not yet been publicly identified by authorities
Scottsdale Police Sgt. Ben Hoster said that officers were called around 12.10am Saturday about someone being fatally shot inside a business.
The killing occurred in an office park that houses mostly therapists and counselors.
Hoster says the call was made by someone who knows the male victim.
Police have yet to release the victim’s identity and have not definitively tied the case to the other shootings, although they are investigating whether they are linked.
The first shooting in the horror saga unfolded on Thursday in Phoenix with the murder of the forensic psychiatrist Pitt, 59, who helped investigate the high profile 1996 JonBenet Ramsey murder case as well as a string of other killings in the area.
He was leaving his office at around 5:23pm when witnesses say they heard a loud argument then gunfire as he was shot on Thursday.
His office is located near the intersection of 71st Street and Bell Road in Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix.
Phoenix police say Pitt was ‘critically wounded’ when officers first arrived on the scene, according to ABC15.
Dr. Steven Pitt, 59, who helped investigate the high profile 1996 death of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, has been shot dead outside his office on Thursday, pictured in June 2007
Phoenix Police put up this flyer in pursuit of the suspect, a white male, who fled the scene
Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Vince Lewis says he has no information on whether the killing is connected to his work, according to Tuscon.com.
‘We are not ruling anything out, but at this point, a loud argument probably suggests they knew each other either professionally or personally,’ Lewis said.
Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect, who fled the scene.
Police describe him as a white man who is bald and was seen wearing a dark-colored hat with a short brim.
Pitt is known for assisting in the death investigation of six-year-old child beauty queen JonBenet after she was found brutally murdered in her Boulder, Colorado home.
The psychiatrist believed the pineapple found in JonBenet’s digestive tract was a key to the investigation as it was proof she ate not long before she died.
Her mother Patsy said that the beauty queen hadn’t eaten any fruit before she went missing, however the mother’s fingerprints were found on the fruit bowl, raising Pitt’s suspicions towards a cover up.
He was shot outside his Scottsdale, Arizona office, pictured above Thursday evening
Police gathered outside the office complex after gunfire rang out and Pitt was found dead
‘The fingerprints on the bowl or cup that were used to give JonBenét the pineapple were Patsy’s fingerprints,’ Pitt formerly said to People Magazine.
‘It suggests someone is not telling the truth about what happened at that home that night,’ he added.
A prosecutor later cleared her parents and brother in 2008 based on DNA evidence.
Pitt also aided in the investigation of the Baseline Killer in Phoenix in 2006, hunting down a man later convicted of killing nine people.
He also consulted in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
His most recent case was on a spree of shootings in the Maryvale area that started in April where six have been shot and one victim shot last month died from their injuries this week. The shooter in that case is still at large.
A friend of Pitt and a fellow Phoenix psychologist David Weinstock told the Arizona Republic he speculates a person connected to one of Pitt’s criminal cases could be behind the shooting.
‘I could be wrong, but the timing and circumstances sound a lot like someone who was waiting outside his office for him,’ Weinstock said in an email.
‘I suspect this was one who either got out after Steve helped put him away or someone whose case he was working on who felt threatened about what Steve could do,’ he added.
JonBenet was a beauty pageant queen who was murdered in her home Christmas evening
Ramsey’s home pictured sectioned off by police after she was found dead inside on Christmas night in 1996
Her mother Patsy Ramsey holds up a reward sign for information on her daughter’s killer on May 1, 1997 after four months of media silence in light of her daughter’s death
Weinstock added that he and Pitt had previously discussed the risks they face in their professions.
Despite the potential for danger, Pitt had not filed any protective orders as per Maricopa County Superior Court records, according to AZCentral.
Pitt worked as a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix at the time of his death.
‘Dr. Pitt was beloved on this campus and went above and beyond mentoring our students and lecturing to our community,’ Dean Guy Reed said in a statement in light of Pitt’s death.
He gained recognition in his career for his work in forensic psychiatric evaluations and has appeared on a myriad of news shows to talk about his investigative work on his various high profile cases.
Joann Sanchez, the center manager of the complex that houses Pitt’s office, says Pitt was a close friend who she called ‘The Tin Man’ because he had the ‘biggest heart ever’.
Bobette Siegel, a licensed clinical social worker who also worked in the building said everyone in the complex knew Pitt.
‘It’s such a loss for his professional community, the forensic community, his family … and for me personally, she said.
Anyone with information about the shootings is urged to contact Silent Witness anonymously at 1-480-WITNESS.
TIMELINE OF JONBENET’S MURDER
December 26, 1996
JonBenet Ramsey, 6, is found dead in the basement of her family’s Boulder home, several hours after her mother called 911 to say the girl was missing and that she had found a ransom note. She suffered a fractured skull and appeared to be strangled
January 1, 1997
Patsy and John Ramsey appear in their first TV interview to protest their innocence
April 30, 1997
The couple participates in formal interviews at the Boulder County Justice Center
May 20, 1997
Mrs Ramsey, who authorities believe could have written the ransom note, gives police a fifth handwriting sample
The Ramseys move from Colorado to Atlanta
March 12, 1998
Boulder police ask the DA to take the case to a grand jury
Boulder police present the results of their investigation to Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter’s prosecuting team and outside advisers; the Ramseys are interviewed separately over three days by investigators
August 12, 1998
Authorities say the Ramsey case will go to a grand jury and the following month, it begins
October 13, 1999
The grand jury disbands and the DA announces there is not enough evidence to file charges against the couple
March 29, 2001
The Ramseys file an $80 million libel and defamation lawsuit against officers at the Boulder Police Department, who later agree to an undisclosed settlement in the case
March 31, 2003
A federal judge says evidence is ‘more consistent with a theory that an intruder murdered JonBenet than it was with a theory that Mrs. Ramsey did’
New DA confirms that DNA from a spot of blood from JonBenet’s underwear has been entered into the FBI’s national database – but that it’s not from her family
June 24, 2006
Patsy Ramsey dies in Roswell, Georgia, at age 49, from ovarian cancer
August 16, 2006
John Mark Karr, a 41-year-old American school teacher who confessed to the crime, is arrested in Bangkok, Thailand – but his DNA does not match that found on the body
July 9, 2008
DA makes public a letter she has written to John Ramsey explaining that new DNA tests have convinced her that no member of the Ramsey family should remain under any suspicion
Reports surface that police seek to re-interview JonBenet’s brother Burke, who was nine at the time of her death, as they continue to investigate the killing
July 21, 2011
John Ramsey remarries to Jan Rousseaux, 53, a designer
June 14, 2012
James Kolar, who worked as an investigator in the DA’s Office, writes in a new book that the Ramsey family ‘may have been involved at least as an accessory after the fact’
October 23, 2013
Judge rules that the court will release grand jury indictment about the Ramseys
October 25, 2013
Indictment is released, revealing that in 1999 it accused the Ramseys of two counts each of child abuse resulting in death in connection to the first-degree murder of JonBenet