Police confirmed on June 4 that a man going through a disputed divorce killed six people over three days in metro Phoenix before taking his own life.
Dwight Lamon Jones, 56, shot himself after shooting seven or eight rounds at officers who had tracked him to an Extended Stay Hotel at 10660 North 69th in Scottsdale. A SWAT team entered Jones’ hotel room after evacuating surrounding rooms and found Jones dead.
Jones’ death on Monday ended a multiday mass murder that gripped many people in the legal and health care fields with fear, and which rivals some of the worst massacres in Phoenix history.
At a news conference in Scottsdale later in the afternoon, officials praised the hard work of investigators in finding Jones before he could harm others.
Jones was identified with DNA evidence gleaned from relatives in northern Arizona that, in conjunction with ballistics evidence, linked him to four murders since Thursday.
The leaders of the Scottsdale and Phoenix Police Departments and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office were present at the briefing, as well as representatives of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Commander Richard Slavin, an assistant chief of police for the Scottsdale Police Department, gave details on the investigation.
Until the press conference on Monday afternoon, the public could only speculate about the links between these seemingly targeted killings.
Jones was targeting people associated with his 2009 divorce from his wife, Connie Jones.
The shooting death of world-renowned forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt on May 31 was followed by the murders of two paralegals named Lauren Anderson and Veleria Sharp at the law offices of Burt, Feldman, Grenier in downtown Scottsdale.
On Saturday morning, Scottsdale police announced that they had responded to yet another shooting victim: life coach and hypnotherapist Marshall Levine, 72, who was killed at his office on Morgan Trail in Scottsdale. Police said Levine was discovered by his girlfriend, who had not heard from Levine since that morning and arrived at his office to find that he had been shot twice.
“Shell casings recovered from this scene as in the previous was compared to ballistic evidence from the other two scenes,” Slavin said. “We had a match linking this homicide to the others.”
Around 9:30 p.m. on June 2, police received a tip that referenced Mr. Jones, Slavin said.
In her statement released shortly after the police briefing, Connie Jones said that she was a source for the tip. In a statement released to the media, she described herself as a "medical professional" and said she was "deeply saddened by the tragedy caused by my ex-husband."
Her current husband, Richard Anglin, a retired Phoenix police detective, "recognized the connection to my divorce and the three crime scenes and he notified the Phoenix Police violent crime unit on Saturday night. I also contacted the Scottsdale Police Department on Sunday morning.”
Slavin said that Connie Jones was cooperative throughout the investigation.
The Scottsdale Police Department had arrested Dwight Jones in 2009 on charges of domestic violence and threats, Slavin said.
After receiving Connie Jones' tip, police began attempting to locate him, and after identifying him driving a gold Mercedes, police kept track of Jones between the afternoon and night of June 3.
Around 10 p.m. on June 3, they saw him remove a bag from his vehicle and throw it in a trash can. Police soon retrieved a small .22 caliber pistol from the can. But the gun did not match the evidence found at the other crime scenes.
Meanwhile, police were able to get a DNA sample from one of the shell casings at Pitt's murder scene. No matches came up in law enforcement databases, so police decided to try some of Jones' relatives. A detective was flown to northern Arizona, where swabs of the relatives were taken and transported to a lab.
Around 12:30 a.m. on June 4, they began testing the DNA sample. “Within about four hours, we had a positive hit on Mr. Jones,” Slavin said.
Additional surveillance footage near Pitt’s office picked up Jones in his vehicle "acting strangely" around the time of the shooting, Slavin said.
Jones was also seen at a home near East Kit Fox Place in Fountain Hills, but his association with the home wasn't known. Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office knocked at the door several times, then climbed a ladder and peered in an upstairs window — where they saw a man who appeared to have been shot.
They discovered another victim, a woman, after entering the home.
Police did not reveal any association between Jones and the two latest victims. “At this time, we don’t have the same kind of linkage that we have with the other scenes. That’s one of the things we’re investigating,” Slavin said.
However, he said that the .22 caliber pistol Jones discarded belonged to the deceased man at the Fountain Hills home.
The victims were mostly associated with Jones’ divorce, Slavin said. As part of his divorce proceedings, Jones was required to be seen by Dr. Pitt.
Dr. Levine, on the other hand, may have simply been in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time. Jones' son, as part of the divorce proceedings, was ordered to see another psychiatrist who normally worked from Levine's office space.
"But she wasn’t in that space anymore," Slavin said.
Levine was subletting the space from Karen Kolbe, a licensed professional counselor. It remains unclear why Jones attacked Levine, whose girlfriend discovered him at the office after he failed to return from work on June 1 and called the authorities.
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Slavin also said that police believe Jones visited the Scottsdale law office with the intent of killing Elizabeth Feldman, who represented his ex-wife during the divorce proceedings. Jones apparently took out his rage on the two paralegals instead.
Based on YouTube videos posted by Jones, Slavin said, officers “started to see that Mr. Jones was visiting [the victims] in an effort to right some wrongs.”
Connie Jones added in her statement that her ex-husband was "a very emotionally disturbed person."
"Personally, I have feared for my safety for the past nine years. I cannot express the emotions I feel for the innocent families touched by this senseless violence," she said.