A 35-year-old man has been accused in Arizona of killing nine people in only three weeks, including his mother and stepfather – the Phoenix police said this Thursday.

The police never took Cleophus Cooksey Jr., the killer, as a suspect of none of the people he murdered. But after they received a call about two people dead in a house in Arizona, they sought him and took him into custody.

After the police discovered that Cooksey had fatally shot his parents, they started “digging” on him and found seven other previous cases of death which he might have been linked to.

The nine homicides occurred between Nov. 27 to Dec. 17 in Phoenix and nearby Avondale and Glendale, as the Phoenix police said.

It would be tough to link Cooksey to the victims without having him in custody because most of them are not related at all. After the police got him, they saw that the two last murders were not only his mother and stepfather. Another victim was also the brother of Cooksey’s former girlfriend. However, the other people seemed to be random – as the Arizona Republic reported.

Serial killer, Nine people in three weeks, Arizona, Phoenix
Cooksey had been in prison before the murders. Image credit: The Arizona Republic

All the victims were shot. When the police examined Cooksey’s gun, they immediately related it to them.

“Our streets are safer today,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said as he thanked the team that caught the killer.

Cooksey, who’s still the suspected serial killer, was convicted of manslaughter when he was just 18, according to the Arizona Republic. He and four other men tried to rob a topless bar in Phoenix.

After his release from prison, he was in and out of jail.

‘Proud as heck’

The Department of Justice for The National Crime Gun Intelligence Center Initiative chose a few cities, Phoenix among them, that allow them to test shell casings at their headquarters.

Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John said that the police could link all the nine cases thanks to a patrol officer who answered the call and was “doing the right things: Taking a person into custody, recognizing there were abnormalities to his behavior. He was trying to conceal what was going on. The officer very appropriately took the right actions. … And that all occurred before the agencies really started to collaborate.”

Serial killer, Nine people in three weeks, Arizona, Phoenix
Cooksey killed nine people in three weeks. Some victims were related to him. Image credit: Phoenix Police

Then, he added that he is “proud as heck” that the suspected killer is “off the streets.”

The press asked him later if more victims could be related to the man. Chief John responded that is a “distinct possibility” and a “concern of our investigators.”

“To solve nine homicides in a period of three weeks is outstanding,” Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard told reporters on Thursday.

The officials expect people from the community can have information to help them see if Cooksey is related to other deaths.

Source: The Arizona Republic