PHOENIX - A suspect wearing tactical gear and armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on Aug. 28 in north Phoenix, killing two people and injuring five others, including two officers, Phoenix Police said. The suspect was also killed in the incident by taking his own life, police say.
Security footage has been released nearly 2 weeks after the shooting.
The incident began at around 8:30 p.m. near Interstate 17 and Deer Valley Road when the suspect walked out of a motel and began firing randomly at the motel, Phoenix Police Sgt. Vincent Cole said Monday, a day after the shooting.
Investigators say surveillance video in the area showed the suspect leaving a room at the motel and going on a shooting spree.
The suspect then reportedly tried lighting a Molotov cocktail by throwing it at a nearby business. The Molotov cocktail did not ignite, but a man and a woman who were riding in a car that pulled into the parking lot were shot and killed by the suspect. Misael Arevalo, 36, and Karla Garzona, 44, are identified as the victims.
Police arrived at the scene and were met by gunfire.
"As our officers arrived on scene responding to that initial call, they were immediately met with a barrage of gunfire," Sgt. Cole said. "An exchange of gunfire occurred, resulting in the injury of two of our officers."
One officer was shot in the shoulder and the second was hit by shrapnel, including in the face. Both officers were hospitalized, but have been released and are recovering at home.
Three other people were also injured in the shootout. They were treated at a hospital and have since been released.
The suspect "was wearing a ballistic vest with steel plates in the front and back, a ballistic helmet, a gas mask, knee pads, and was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, along with a number incendiary devices and multiple magazines for the rifle," police said.
The suspect is identified as 24-year-old Isaiah Steven Williams. Police say he was found with a "gunshot wound to the head, consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound."
"Once again, two Phoenix Police officers have been shot," said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams in a press conference at the hospital just hours after the shooting on Aug. 28. "Thankfully, those two officers are recovering and are talking. So they're in good spirits."
Williams remarked on violence against police, asking when will the violence end, and that this is another example of innocent bystanders getting killed and hurt by gun violence.
A vigil was held two weeks following the shooting in honor of Arevalo. Loved ones lit candles and talked about how much they loved him.
Surveillance camera captures scene
A surveillance camera at an auto shop nearby shows the gunman’s movements, and the mayhem he caused.
The owner of Action Auto Repair, Tom O’Kane, shared the surveillance footage with detectives and FOX 10. He points out the white car that pulls into the parking lot, where Williams was in the midst of firing off his rifle.
Two people inside that car were fired upon and killed. For several minutes, you can see the profile of Williams and the flashlight on his rifle as he walked around, randomly firing.
"Absolutely ridiculous, and after seeing what power these bullets can do, there’s no need for it to have this kind of stuff on the street," O’Kane said.
His shop is about 200 yards from where the shooter was and took several bullets.
"Went through a steel gate, went through a steel building, went through the steel of a car, it’s amazing the power of that projectile," O’Kane said.
The bullets left a trail of holes in his gate and garage before hitting a van that was parked inside, shattering its windows, and lodging into the rearview mirror and windshield.
Police release critical incident report
On Sept. 9, Phoenix Police released a critical incident report on the incident, which shows the moments of the shooting that happened at the parking lot, as well as subsequent police responses.
In the critical incident report, the officer involved in the shooting was identified as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department.
An internal investigation is underway, and the case is under review by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, according to police officials in the video.
‘Close to home’
Sean Castel was staying at the Days Inn when the shooting broke out.
"Thank God I’m on the second floor and thank God no one was on the first floor," he said.
He ran into the bathroom the moment Phoenix Police confirmed Williams opened fire at the building.
"It didn’t stop. The guy obviously reloaded a few times and kept going. I didn’t know what was going on," Castel said. "I’m a combat veteran. I know distances. It was probably within 30 yards. It was hitting close."
The shooting reminded Castel of his time in combat.
"Brought back some memories. I’ve dealt with that stuff over the years. It’s just weird seeing it close to home like this. You see this stuff on the news, and you think ‘ah, that’ll never happen to me,’ and then it does, right in your front door. It’s scary," Castel said.
A week later …
A week following the shooting, another witness is speaking out about the incident.
"I was right there in that room looking the whole time," he said. "The shooter was shooting everything that moved."
He says the shooter noticed the car pull up with Arevalo and Garzona inside, and that’s when Williams changed direction.
"When he saw this little white car came, right there, he was there. He shot at the little white car …," he said.
The shooting has left those who saw the incident a bit anxious. The witness says he's just not as at ease as he was before this.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line).