Ex-convict Leslie Scarlett, 35, is accused of opening fire on neighbors, paramedics and firefighters in Tucson on Sunday, killing one and injuring four others
Police in Tucson have identified an ex-convict as the gunman who they say fatally shot a man in front of his young son and wounded four others, including first responders, during a house fire where a charred body was found.
Suspect Leslie Scarlett, 35, remained in extremely critical condition at a local hospital, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said at a news conference on Monday night.
Magnus said Scarlett was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a police officer on Sunday.
‘It is not clear what his intentions were,’ Magnus said. ‘This is a highly tragic, really horrific incident, with many unknowns … A nightmare scenario.’
According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Scarlett has a criminal history that includes a 2007 conviction for an attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced to six years and was released in August 2013.
Scarlett is suspected of killing a man and injuring four others in a rampage close to a house fire in Tucson, Arizona Sunday afternoon
Plywood is used to secure a house in Tucson Monday, a day after a charred body believed to be that of a mother of three was found there
Neighbor Cory Saunders, 44, was shot and killed by the rampaging gunman while trying to help put out the house fire. Saunders, a dad-of-two, is pictured with his girlfriend
The shootings spanned three locations, including the already-chaotic scene of a house fire
Scarlett was back in jail in 2016 for a brief stint after being convicted of disorderly conduct.
Police said Scarlett drove up to the house fire at 3.45pm and fired shots at an ambulance crew. The ambulance was two blocks from the fire, at Quincie Douglas Center, but was actually on standby for another incident, authorities said.
The ambulance driver, a 20-year-old man, was shot in the head, and a paramedic in the passenger seat, a 21-year-old woman, was shot in the chest and arm, police said. The driver was in critical condition and the woman was stable Monday.
The suspect then opened fire on firefighters and neighbors trying to douse the flames in the 2100 block of East Irene Vista, authorities said.
‘He was just standing there in the middle of the street kind of nonchalantly reloading and just shooting …at anybody and anything,’ witness Jesse Acuna told AZFamily.
A neighbor — identified as 44-year-old Cory Michael Saunders — was shot in the head and died in front of his 11-year-old son, Magnus said.
Saunders’ girlfriend, Melissa Snyder, told KVOA that he ran out of their home the moment he realized their neighbors’ house was on fire.
A window is seen shattered in an ambulance after the gunman shot and wounded two EMTs in Tucson on Sunday amid the rampage
Tucson police officer Danny Leone shot Scarlett after the suspect allegedly rammed the cop’s vehicle and opened fire on him
Scarlett is seen bleeding in the middle of the road after the officer-involved shooting
Scarlett was taken into custody and transported to a hospital in critical condition
A fire department captain, a 17-year veteran, was shot in the arm, and another bullet grazed another neighbor’s head.
Snyder said she watched the wounded neighbor seek shelter after getting shot while waiting in vain for Saunders to return.
‘I don’t know how much time passed, but then, I watched them carry Cory over to our side of the yard,’ Snyder said.
Scarlett has a criminal history that includes a 2007 conviction for an attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced to six years and was released in August 2013
Saunders is survived by his son and 12-year-old daughter.
Police said a badly burned body was later found inside the home hasn’t been identified yet, but likely is the mother of three children who lived there.
The children were initially reported missing but were located unharmed Monday morning, according to authorities.
It is unclear at this time what was Scarlett’s relationship with the mother and children.
Neighbor Ladene Jones told KGUN9 that Scarlett, whom she said she has known a long time and was like an aunt to whom, lived with his girlfriend in the house that burned down.
Jones also revealed that during the rampage she tried to reason with Scarlett and dissuade him from shooting people, but he ignored her pleas and remained silent.
A responding police officer encountered Scarlett a couple blocks away near Campbell Avenue and Irene Vista Road. Police said he rammed his SUV into the officer’s vehicle and opened fire.
The officer, eight-year veteran Danny Leone, wasn’t injured and returned fire, critically wounding the suspect, as seen in graphic body camera video that was released by the police on Monday.
Chief Magnus told reporters on Monday that a motive in the deadly rampage has not yet been determined.
‘It is not clear what his intentions were, because he was shooting at people, you know, both neighbors and firefighters, so his intentions remain unclear,’ he said.
‘This is a highly tragic, really horrific incident, with many unknowns,’ said Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus. The police has yet to identify the gunman or his connection to the house fire
Police found the unidentified remains of a victim inside the home, while between ‘two and three’ children that live at the house are still missing
A paramedic riding in the ambulance was able to summon help, despite having been shot
While at the scene of the house fire, the gunman killed a neighbor and shot a firefighter
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero thanked the police and fire departments for their work in a series of tweets Sunday night.
‘I ask our entire Tucson community to join me in thinking about and praying for the victims of this afternoon’s fire and shooting by Silverlake Park, including first responders from AMR and the Tucson Fire Department. This was a horrific and senseless act of violence,’ she tweeted.
‘Thank you to the men and women at @Tucson_Police, @TucsonFireDeptand all of the first responders and neighbors who courageously responded to the scene, knowingly putting themselves in danger.’