Phoenix cop heard serial killer shoot, kill 19-year-old victim

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PHOENIX – A 19-year-old Maryvale High School graduate sat in his parked car for just five minutes, waiting to take his girlfriend to dinner, before someone drove up and shot him multiple times.

Police have linked the murder to the Valley serial killer, who is blamed for nine shootings and seven deaths from mid-March until mid-July.

Police reports released Monday reveal new details about the June 10 murder of Manuel “Manny” Castro Garcia.

At 9:20 p.m., Castro Garcia texted his girlfriend, saying he was outside her home near 67th Avenue and McDowell Road. Witnesses saw him sitting in a 1998 Toyota 4Runner. At 9:25 p.m., the 911 calls started coming in.

One witness described seeing a dark, imported car drive towards the teen’s vehicle. It was moving slowly, “characteristic of a person looking for someone or something,” according to a statement by another witness.

One man, whose statement is partially redacted, hinted there might have been more than one person in the shooter’s car.

“The suspect vehicle that [the witness] observed was black with headlights that reminded him of a ‘triangle,'” wrote the interviewing officer. “[The witness] was unsure of which occupant shot.”

Phoenix police say witnesses in two of the nine shootings linked to the serial killer “thought” they saw passengers in the gunman’s car, but investigators say the prospect others are involved is “unlikely.”

In the shooting of Manny Castro Garcia, one officer was within earshot of the attack. Officer Josephine Jenkins wrote she was fueling up her patrol vehicle at the Maryvale Precinct when she heard the gunshots. The precinct is less than a mile from where the shooting took place.

Jenkins was the first officer to arrive at the scene two minutes later. By then, the gunman was gone.