An Arizona man has been arrested after he allegedly shot five people on Friday and Saturday in a spate of random shootings, killing four and wounding one, police said.
Police arrested 20-year-old Iren Byers on Saturday on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder after Mesa Police Department officials allegedly saw him on video near the scene of multiple shootings that occurred on Friday and Saturday. One shooting, in Phoenix, left one dead Friday afternoon, and the other shootings, in Mesa, left three dead and one injured Friday night and early Saturday. Byers allegedly confessed to the shootings once in custody, police said.
The injured Mesa victim, a 36-year-old woman, is in stable condition and will undergo surgery for serious injuries, according to Detective Brandi George, public information officer for the police department. Police found her with gunshot wounds around 12:15 am Saturday at Main and Stewart streets.
George added that detectives believe Byers «has a lot of different motives» and that the shootings were random, adding that authorities also «suspect there may be some mental illness there.»
Byers allegedly told detectives after his arrest that he shot the injured woman because «she made him mad» after he started talking to her, the probable cause statement says. He allegedly shot her in the face and then allegedly «shot her again because she was not yet dead,» the statement said.
The Phoenix victim, killed around 2:45 p.m. Friday, was a man Byers allegedly met at North 24th Street and Thomas Road, according to the probable cause statement. Byers allegedly told police that he shot the man in the head «because he was abusing fentanyl, which he hadn’t liked since [Byers’] brother also abused the drug,» the statement said. Byers allegedly told police that the victim «was not armed and was not a threat to him,» and that she got on a bus after the murder.
The dead victims in Mesa, a city 19 miles southeast of Phoenix, include a 41-year-old man, found dead around 10:30 pm Friday night in Beverly Park; another 41-year-old man, found dead around 1 a.m. Saturday outside a bus station on South Country Club Road, about a mile southeast of the park; and someone police believe to be an adult male, who they found around 2 a.m. Saturday on South Extension Road, less than three-quarters of a mile southeast of Beverly Park, according to a police department news release.
The victims have yet to be publicly identified.
According to the probable cause statement, Byers allegedly told detectives that the 41-year-old man found dead in Beverly Park «talked about the blues, so he shot him in the head,» the probable cause statement says. «Blues» is a nickname for counterfeit opioid pills containing fentanyl.
Byers allegedly shot the 41-year-old man found dead on South Country Club Road in the head because he «wanted to smoke blues» while Byers «wanted to smoke weed,» according to the probable cause statement, which adds that the men met. as he rides the light rail transit system.
Byers allegedly told police that he shot the person believed to be a man found on South Extension Road in the head after they were found walking on the train tracks because he was «homeless and not from around here.» «. As the victim fell down a nearby hill, Byers allegedly «followed him to continue shooting at him,» the probable cause statement reads.
Byers also allegedly told police that he did not seek medical help for any of the victims because he believed they did not deserve it, according to the probable cause statement.
Officers saw Byers on surveillance footage taken from multiple cameras, including a residential Ring camera and a camera on the light rail, according to police. The images showed Byers «in all of the videos, wearing the same clothing that witnesses reported at the time of the shooting,» police said.
Officers also linked spent casings found at «most shooting scenes» to the same pistol using the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network, a national database managed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Police stopped Byers near his Mesa home on misdemeanor trespassing, George said.
Once in custody, Byers allegedly confessed to the shooting during questioning by officers, according to the Mesa Police Department, adding that he also told officers where they could find the clothing he was wearing and the weapon he was using. Officers later found those items at her residence after obtaining a search warrant, police said.
Byers is being held without bail, according to police. It was not immediately clear if he has a lawyer or how much prison time he could face if convicted.