Forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt in a Phoenix New Times file photo. The 59-year-old was killed outside of his office on Thursday.
Forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt in a Phoenix New Times file photo. The 59-year-old was killed outside of his office on Thursday.
Paul Rubin

Scottsdale Police Ask Public to Stay 'Vigilant' After Connecting Three of Four Shootings

UPDATE, JUNE 4: Police tracked a suspect to a Scottsdale hotel room, where he was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound early Monday morning. Read the latest.

Three people are dead in a string of shootings since Thursday, and the Scottsdale Police Department says that the murders are connected.

A well-known forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Steven Pitt, was shot and killed outside of his office in Phoenix on Thursday. On Friday, two women who worked at a downtown Scottsdale law office were shot and killed.

And on Saturday afternoon, Scottsdale police had restricted access to an office at 8010 East Morgan Trail in Scottsdale, where they said a fourth victim was shot.

"Right now, we do not know if the shooting at the business behind us is related to the previous two shootings," Scottsdale police spokesperson sergeant Benjamin Hoster said at a media briefing.

Karen Kolbe, a licensed professional counselor who works at the Morgan Trail office, told Phoenix New Times that police arrived at her house around 3 a.m. and told her that the latest victim was Marshall Levine, a hypnotherapist and life coach who worked at the same office as Kolbe.

Scottsdale police did not immediately confirm the victim's name.

Kolbe said that she had been subletting office space to Levine under her office lease for about the past two years.

"I know he did hypnotherapy," she said. "I know he was calling himself a life coach."

Kolbe didn't clearly recall what police asked her and said that she was in "a little bit of shock" when they informed her of Levine's murder.

"I think they just wanted to know what I knew and saw, which wasn’t much," she said. The last time she saw Levine, he was at the office around noon on Friday, Kolbe said.

On the website Psychology Today, Levine is listed as the occupant of Suite 1 of the Morgan Trail office. His practice is listed as Peak Life Solutions, with specialties in life coaching and relationship issues.

"My clients' fulfillment is my joy," Levine's page states. "This is why I have coached for 30 years and am still thrilled to continue. There is no reward that can match the fulfillment of helping someone overcome limiting beliefs, get out of their own way & achieving their own purpose."

Although there is a sketch of the suspect in Pitt's shooting — a bald adult man wearing a black cap — and Scottsdale police say they have an "outstanding suspect" in the law firm shootings, police have not released more information about a suspect or arrests.

Pitt was well-known for his ties to the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, in which he served as a consultant to the Boulder Police Department and the district attorney. They hired him in February 1997, two months after the murder of the 6-year-old.

"The 40-year-old Scottsdale father of two does not comport with the image one might have of a psychiatrist," Phoenix New Times writer Paul Rubin wrote in 1999. "He's a street-smart, openly ambitious wiseguy who seems most comfortable helping detectives sort out the psychopathology that has led someone — known or unknown — to commit a crime."

Pitt also served on the Phoenix Police Department's task force devoted to the Baseline Killer, Mark Goudeau, who was convicted for the murder of nine people between 2005 and 2006. And he also was an adviser to the district attorney after the Columbine High School massacre, according to his website.

On Thursday, Phoenix police said that witnesses heard an argument, followed by shots outside of Pitt's office. The shooter is unknown and police are encouraging people to call Silent Witness.

The two women who were killed in Scottsdale worked at the law office of Burt, Feldman, Grenier at 7509 East First Street, police said. Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, worked as paralegals.

One victim was able to make her way out of the building after being shot in the head to ask for help, but later died after being transported to the hospital. The other woman was found dead inside of the law office when police followed a blood trail. 

"Our investigation has determined that this double homicide is related to the shooting of Steven Pitt on May 31, 2018 in Phoenix," Scottsdale police spokesperson Benjamin Hoster said in a news release on Saturday.

Hoster said that police have contacted all the family members of the victims from yesterday and they don’t believe that they’re in danger. “We don’t believe that is the case.”

Hoster said at the media briefing on Saturday that around 10 minutes after midnight, police received a call about a shooting at the business complex from an individual known to the victim at the Morgan Trail office.

Police arrived to find that an adult male subject had been shot to death inside of the office, Hoster said. Although they have determined that the previous three killings are related, police are trying to determine how this latest shooting fits in, he said.

Police do not have a motive at this time.

"We’re asking the public to remain vigilant," Hoster told reporters.

UPDATE, June 2: Phoenix police released a statement at about 3 p.m. on Saturday, saying the first three murders "may be related."

"To maintain the integrity of these investigations, I am unable to go into further detail at this time," Sergeant Vince Lewis said in a statement. "Both Phoenix and Scottsdale police will be working closely on these investigations going forward."

UPDATE, June 3: On Sunday morning, Scottsdale police confirmed that Marshall Levine, 72, was the victim found at the Morgan Trail office.

"Levine was found deceased in his office by an acquaintance at approximately 12:10 a.m. on June 2, 2018," police said in a release. "The acquaintance then immediately called 911. Evidence indicated that Levine had been shot. The investigation is on-going and no further details are available at this time."  

Police marked off the entrance to the office at 8010 East Morgan Trail with red tape.EXPAND
Police marked off the entrance to the office at 8010 East Morgan Trail with red tape.
Ray Stern
Much of the office complex was marked off with police tape.EXPAND
Much of the office complex was marked off with police tape.
Ray Stern
By late afternoon on Saturday, police were still active at the law offices of Burt, Feldman, and Grenier in Scottsdale. Two paralegals who worked at the law firm were shot and killed on Friday.EXPAND
By late afternoon on Saturday, police were still active at the law offices of Burt, Feldman, and Grenier in Scottsdale. Two paralegals who worked at the law firm were shot and killed on Friday.
Ray Stern

Ray Stern contributed reporting. This is a developing story and may be updated.

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