Suspect connected to recent Valley murders identified

- As police closed in, a man suspected of gunning down four people over the past few days shot himself to death Monday, ending a killing spree that included the deaths of a prominent psychiatrist, two paralegals and a marriage-and-divorce counselor.

Police in Arizona say they spent a day and a half tracking the suspect, eventually finding him at an extended-stay hotel in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale. Officers evacuated nearby rooms before hearing gunfire and finding his body.



>> VIDEO: Suspect connected to recent killings barricaded in hotel


During a news conference Monday afternoon, Scottsdale Assistant Chief of Police Rich Slavin identified the suspect as Dwight Jones, 56. During the news conference, Scottsdale Assistant Police Chief Rich Slavin said Jones fired at officers during the standoff, but no officers were hurt.

In addition, authorities say they believe Jones also killed a man and a woman whose bodies were discovered Monday in Fountain Hills. The two were identified on Monday night by Scottsdale Police as 72-year-old Bryon Thomas and 70-year-old Mary Simmons.

The raid came after authorities identified the fourth victim, Marshall Levine, a 72-year-old counselor and life coach. He was found shot inside an office building shortly after midnight Saturday.

On Thursday, Dr. Steven Pitt, a prominent forensic psychiatrist who assisted in high-profile murder cases, including the JonBenet Ramsey mystery in Colorado and a notorious Phoenix serial killer investigation, was found dead near Scottsdale. Witnesses reported hearing a loud argument and gunfire outside Pitt’s office. Police say the first victim had testified against Jones in court.

Police said the killings Friday of paralegals Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, were related to Pitt’s shooting, but they were still trying to determine exactly how the three victims were connected.

“We don’t know the relationships or the connections,” Sgt. Ben Hoster said.

Pitt’s killer was described as a bald man wearing a dark-colored hat with a short brim, police said. Investigators released a sketch of the suspect in the three killings.

Sharp and Anderson were shot Friday inside a law office. One of the women managed to walk to an intersection to seek help despite a gunshot wound to her head. She was taken to a hospital where she died, police said.

Officers followed a blood trail back to the office and found the other woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Levine was killed in an office park that houses mostly therapists and counselors.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Jones' ex-wife, Connie Jones, said it is her current husband, a retired Phoenix Police detective, who recognized the connection to her divorce and the crime scenes, and notified Phoenix Police Saturday. Connie Jones said she contacted Scottsdale Police Sunday morning.

A decade after the JonBenet Ramsey case, the 59-year-old Pitt helped Phoenix police in the Baseline Killer investigation as they sought a man who was later convicted of killing nine people.

The website of Burt/Feldman/Grenier, the law firm that employed Sharp and Anderson, says it practices divorce, child support and other aspects of family law.

The law firm issued a statement on the murders Monday afternoon.

"We feel tremendous sorrow for the victims of this senseless tragedy. Our hearts go out to the families of Laura, Valeria, Steven and Marshall. We hope that everyone remembers these great people for the warmth and love they showed during their lives.

We appreciate the efforts by Scottsdale and Phoenix police department and all law enforcement who helped protect the public during this dangerous spree.

The law firm continues to work with authorities to help obtain a complete picture of why this mass murder occurred.

We ask for some time to come to terms with this tragedy and ask for privacy as we mourn these losses."

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