Phoenix authorities used new ballistic technology to capture a suspected serial killer–who for three weeks late last year terrorized two small suburban communities outside of Phoenix, Ariz.
Cleophus Cooksey Jr., 35, is suspected of killing nine people, fatally shooting victims who resided in Glendale and Avondale, two neighborhoods near Phoenix. The victims’ ages range from 21 – 56. Authorities told the outlet that a bloodied Cooksey was arrested on December 17 after fatally shooting his mother and stepfather inside of their home, NBC News reports.
He was arrested and charged with nine counts of first-degree murder, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, armed robbery and sexual assault, police told the outlet.
The string of murders began on November 27, when two men were attacked in a parked car. Other victims include an acquaintance of the suspect who was fatally wounded after he was robbed of his handgun and the brother of Cooksey’s ex-girlfriend. During a third scenario, police believe Cooksey and the victim were involved in a drug trade. Police suspect Cooksey kidnapped and sexually assaulted the woman before her death.
Police say their investigation could lead to uncovering other murder victims. Cooksey had a lengthy record— he was sentenced to 16 years for a 2001 armed robbery case where a victim was killed. During his stint in jail, he was also found guilty of several violations including assaulting staff and drug possession. In January 2015 he was released but re-entered the system after violating his parole.
Authorities attribute their findings to the National Crime Gun Intelligence Center Initiative, a program run by the Justice Department which aids investigators to test for links to guns, shell casings, projectiles and other ballistics, according to NBC.
Phoenix authorities joined the program last year after failing to test a firearm recovered in a group of pawned guns relating to a string of non-fatal freeway shootings. The gun left out of testing was used by suspect Aaron Saucedo, who was arrested in 2016 for targeting and fatally shooting multiple men and women of color.
SOURCE: NBC News