ARIZONA SLAYINGS Suspect kills himself as police close in
A hunch from a retired detective helped lead police to a man suspected of shooting six people to death in the Phoenix area, some of whom were connected to his divorce, authorities said Monday after the assailant killed himself with officers closing in.
A round-the-clock investigation that began late last week led police Monday to an extended-stay hotel in suburban Scottsdale where 56-year-old Dwight Lamon Jones was staying. As officers approached, they heard gunfire and found his body.
Jones’ victims included a well-known forensic psychiatrist who testified against him in court in 2010, two paralegals who worked for the law office that represented the suspect’s wife, a marriage-and-divorce counselor who was apparently targeted in a case of mistaken identity and another man and woman who have not been identified, authorities said.
“This is not a success story, but it’s a story that has closure,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said.
The slayings began Thursday with the fatal shooting of Dr. Steven Pitt, who, according to court records, had evaluated Jones and testified in 2010 that he had anxiety and mood disorders and symptoms of a paranoid personality.
The testimony was cited in the couple’s November 2010 divorce, which granted Jones’ wife sole custody of their now 21-year-old son.
The 59-year-old psychiatrist was well known in his field and assisted in high-profile murder cases, including the JonBenet Ramsey mystery in Colorado and a Phoenix serial-killer investigation.
Paralegals Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, worked at the law office that represented Jones’ wife. Counselor Marshall Levine, 72, appears to have been mistaken for someone else who once occupied the same office.
Police would not speculate why Jones tracked down people connected to his divorce so long after it happened.
The suspect’s ex-wife, Connie Jones, said her ex-husband was a “very emotionally disturbed person.”
Her current husband, a retired detective, made the connection between her divorce and the crime scenes and notified police of his suspicion Saturday night, she said.