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An Arizona man, identified as Aylen Byers, has been taken into custody in connection with a series of indiscriminate shootings that occurred from Friday to Saturday. Byers, 20, is facing charges for shooting five individuals, resulting in four fatalities and one injury, according to a statement by the police.
Law enforcement officials arrested Byers on Saturday after identifying him through surveillance footage captured near multiple shooting scenes. The initial shooting took place in Phoenix on Friday afternoon, while three more victims lost their lives in Mesa late Friday and early Saturday. Following his arrest, Byers reportedly confessed to the shootings.
Detective Brandi George, spokesperson for the police, confirmed that a 36-year-old woman, one of the victims in Mesa, was found with gunshot wounds and is currently in stable condition. She will undergo surgery to address her serious injuries. Detective George further stated that investigators believe Byers had multiple motives for the shootings, suggesting a potential connection to mental illness.
According to the probable cause document, Byers admitted to opening fire on the injured woman due to irritation during their conversation. Allegedly, he shot her in the face and continued firing because she remained alive. Byers also claimed to have shot a man in the head in another incident, citing alleged fentanyl abuse as the motive. Notably, Byers' brother had a history of drug abuse involving fentanyl. Byers stated that the victim was unarmed and posed no threat.
The identities of the victims in Mesa have not yet been disclosed. Among the deceased are two 41-year-old men, one found dead in Beverly Park and the other near a bus stop on South Country Club Road. Additionally, police discovered the body of an adult male on South Extension Road. Byers provided explanations for each shooting, suggesting drug use and homelessness as factors.
Officers connected Byers to the crimes through video surveillance footage obtained from various sources, including residential ring cameras and the light rail system. The footage depicted Byers wearing the same attire described by witnesses at the time of the shootings. Furthermore, spent cartridge cases found at most crime scenes were matched to the same firearm using the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN).
Initially arrested for trespassing on railroad tracks near his Mesa residence, Byers confessed to the shootings during questioning by officers, leading to additional charges. A subsequent search warrant executed by the police resulted in the recovery of the clothing worn by Byers during the incidents and the handgun used.
Currently, Mr. Aylen Byers is being held without bail, and it remains unclear whether he has legal representation. The potential duration of a prison sentence, if convicted, has yet to be determined.