On Wednesday, March 18, Ryan Giroux took the life of one man, injured several others and left Mesa in a whirlwind of crime scenes, according to local police. He was arrested in conjunction with six shootings that took place in Mesa.
After a manhunt that lasted four hours, the Mesa shooting suspect, 41-year-old Giroux, was taken into custody around 12:30 p.m. according to the Mesa Police Department.
Mesa police Detective Esteban Flores said during a phone interview on Thursday, March 19, the suspect is believed to be responsible for all six shootings. He was using a semi-automatic hand-gun, and as of press time Friday, a court date had not been set.
According to court documents, suspect Giroux’s bail has been set at $2 million. Charges include four counts of aggravated assault using a deadly weapon, four counts of armed robbery with a deadly weapon, four counts of kidnap-death and four counts of first degree burglary, as well as 19 additional charges.
“He and the first victim had some kind of issue, whether it was business dealings or drugs. We just don’t know,” said Detective Flores. “He’s just not talking. We’re not getting anything from him.”
Detective Flores confirmed that although there had been rumors about the suspect being previously involved with white-supremacy groups, police do not believe the incident is race-related.
The events began when the Mesa police received an emergency call from the Tri-City Inn, 1504 W. Main St. in Mesa, between 8:30 and 9 a.m., according to a press release. Officers found three gunshot victims at the hotel: David Williams, 29, who was pronounced dead at the scene; Lydia Nielson, 51, the mother of Mr. Williams; and Jessica Burgess, 19. Ms. Nielson and Ms. Burgess are now recovering from their wounds, according to a press release.
According to Detective Flores, Mr. Williams and Ms. Burgess were friends.
Shortly after, another emergency call was received from Bistro 13, a restaurant across the street from the motel. Bistro 13 is run by the students of East Valley Institute of Technology, 1353 W. Main St. in Mesa, just east of the school campus.
Police say suspect Giroux shot student, Isaac Martinez, 20, who was working at the restaurant. Mr. Martinez did not have life-threatening injuries from the shooting. There were seven students and one instructor working at Bistro 13 at the time, according to a press release. Police say suspect Giroux stole the instructor’s vehicle, a grey Honda Accord, and fled eastbound.
From there, suspect Giroux continued to 949 S. Longmore, where he failed at stealing another car, police say.
After that, he went to 901 S. Dobson Road, where police say he shot Donavon Worker, 24, inside an apartment while failing at an attempted robbery, according to the press release. Mr. Worker suffered non-life threatening injuries from the shooting.
Finally, the suspect headed to another apartment complex, 1840 W. Emelita in Mesa, where the sixth victim, Marcus Butler, 25, was shot. Mr. Butler is still in critical but stable condition and is expected to survive, according to the press release.
From there, police say suspect Giroux fled to condominiums at 1730 W. Emelita, in Mesa. The Mesa SWAT team apprehended the suspect inside a vacant condo there.
“He gained entry somehow. When the Mesa SWAT team, in particular, was checking that complex door-to-door, he was spotted on a balcony. Officers were able to make their way up to the second floor and take him into custody,” Detective Flores said during the media briefing held March 18.
Mesa SWAT team members attempted to take suspect Giroux into custody, but he was not compliant, according to the release. A taser was used to subdue the suspect.
Television cameras showed footage of authorities walking the suspect who was dressed in an all-white suit with a hood. Detective Flores said the suits are used if investigators want to protect clothing for evidence.
In suspect Giroux’s mugshot, there is blood on his face from resisting arrest inside the condo, according to Detective Flores.
“When you’re a dangerous person, like he is, there are going to be some strikes involved,” said Detective Flores.
“Everything else seemed to be random. We believe his motive at the other locations was robbery and car-jacking and trying to get away,” said Detective Flores during the press conference.
EVIT spokesperson, CeCe Todd said during a phone interview that Bistro 13 is closed until the investigation is finished.
“I can’t say enough about the Mesa police department,” said Ms. Todd. “Mesa was totally in charge of this, and they were great to work with.”
According to e-mailed response to questions from EVIT’s head of security and director of facilities, Leon Spielbush, the school has taken advantage of the help Mesa police offers to help create and implement emergency plans and procedures.
“EVIT has a safety crisis manual published for all EVIT staff and personnel that covers who is responsible for the type of emergency that might possibly happen on our campus,” said Mr. Spielbush. “Numerous staff members, references, as well as other outside professionals’ advice has been used to create EVIT’s Safety-Crisis Manual and plan.”
In addition to the Mesa police department, units from the Arizona Department of Safety, Tempe, Gilbert and Scottsdale also assisted during the manhunt, according to the press conference on Wednesday, March 18.
“Today we do have counselors on campus who are working with staff and students to do crisis counseling,” said Ms. Todd.
Reach staff writer Melissa Fittro at firstname.lastname@example.org