An Arizona man has been arrested after he allegedly shot five people on Friday and Saturday in a random shooting spree, leaving four dead and one injured, police said.
Police arrested Iren Byers, 20, Saturday on four charges of first degree murder and one charge of attempted murder after officials with the Mesa Police Department allegedly saw him on video footage near the scene of multiple shootings that occurred Friday and Saturday. One shooting, in Phoenix, left one dead on Friday afternoon, and the other shootings, in Mesa, left three dead and one injured late Friday and early Saturday. Byers allegedly confessed to the shootings once in custody, police said.
The injured victim in Mesa, 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 a.m. Saturday at Main and Stewart streets.
George added 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 began talking to her, the probable cause statement says. He allegedly shot her in the face, and then allegedly “shot her another time because she wasn’t dead yet,” the statement says.
The Phoenix victim, killed around 2:45 p.m. Friday, was a man Byers allegedly met around North 24th Street and Thomas Road, according to the probable cause statement. Byers allegedly told police he shot the man in the head “because he was abusing fentanyl, which he did not like since [Byers’] brother abused the drug too,” the statement says. Byers allegedly told police the victim “was not armed and was not a threat to him,” and that he got on a bus after the killing.
The deceased victims in Mesa — a city 19 miles southeast of Phoenix — include a 41-year-old man, found dead at around 10:30 p.m. Friday night at 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 is an adult man, 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 news release from the police department.
The victims have not yet been publicly identified.
According to the probable cause statement, Byers allegedly told detectives the 41-year-old man found dead in Beverly Park “was talking about blues so he shot him in the head,” the probable cause statement says. “Blues” is a nickname for counterfeit opioid pills that contain fentanyl.
Byers allegedly shot in the head the 41-year-old man found dead on South Country Club Road because he “wanted to smoke blues” while Byers “wanted to smoke weed,” according to the probable cause statement, which adds that the men met while riding the light rail transit system.
Byers allegedly told police he shot in the head the person believed to be a man found on South Extension Road after they met walking on the railroad tracks because “he was homeless and not from around here.” When the victim fell down a nearby hill, Byers allegedly “followed him to continue shooting him,” the probable cause statement states.
Byers also allegedly told police he didn’t call for medical aid for any of the victims because he believed they didn’t deserve it, the probable cause statement said.
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 footage depicted Byers “in all the videos, wearing the same clothing as reported by witnesses at the time of the shootings,” police said.
Officers also linked spent shell cases found at “most of the shooting scenes” to the same handgun using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, a national database run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Police took Byers into custody near his Mesa home on a misdemeanor charge of trespassing on railroad tracks, George said.
Once in custody, Byers allegedly confessed to the shootings during questioning by officers, according to the Mesa Police Department, which added that he also told officers where they could find the clothes he wore and the handgun he used. Officers later found those items at his residence after obtaining a search warrant, police said.
Byers is being held without bond, according to police. It was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer or how much prison time he could face if convicted.