Shooting deaths of psychiatrist and two paralegals believed to be related
A forensic psychiatrist and two paralegals were killed in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area in two shootings that occurred less than 24 hours apart.
Police say the shootings are related and that a fourth death on Saturday is under investigation to see if it’s connected to the prior three deaths. The fourth person was found shot in his Scottsdale office, at a mental health facility.
All four deaths happened at or near the victims’ offices, putting the area’s legal community on edge. A $21,000 reward is being offered for information leading authorities to the killer. Here’s what’s been made public about how the killings unfolded:
Thursday, May 31
Steven Pitt, a forensic psychiatrist who was involved in several high-profile cases, including the investigation into the death of child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey in 1996, was killed Thursday in Phoenix shortly before 5:30 p.m., officials said. He was found shot dead after witnesses heard a loud argument and gunshots.
He died outside of his office, reported CNN affiliate KTVK.
Pitt, 59, served as a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, and developed a reputation for his work in forensic psychiatric evaluations, according to Pitt’s bio. He had been retained as an expert and testified in many cases.
Police issued a sketch of the suspect, based on witnesses to the Pitt killing, but have not identified him.
Friday, June 1
Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49, were shot and killed at a Scottsdale law firm Friday afternoon, according to Scottsdale Police.
Police responded to a shooting around 2:15 p.m. and found a woman with a gunshot wound to her head, who had walked to a bus stop trying to get help. She was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.
A second woman was found dead inside the building. Both victims worked as paralegals at a law office, police said.
The double shooting is believed to be related to the killing of Pitt, Scottsdale Sgt. Ben Hoster said Saturday. Evidence from Thursday’s and Friday’s crime scenes appears to connect the shootings, he said. These are “not random shootings,” he told KTVK.
Saturday, June 2
A fourth victim, Marshall Levine, 72, was found dead Saturday in his office at a Scottsdale mental health counseling facility. Levine had been shot and was found in his office by an acquaintance at approximately 12:10 a.m. Saturday.
Hoster said police are investigating whether Levine’s death is related to the others.