SURPRISE, AZ — A 19-year-old suspect has been booked on multiple charges, including first-degree murder, and is being held on $1 million bond in connection with a Thursday shooting spree across the West Valley that left one person dead and 12 others hurt.
.@PeoriaPoliceAZ book West Valley shooting suspect into @mcsoaz - 19-year-old, Ashin Tricarico, of Surprise, Arizona facing multiple charges including murder. His motive is still unknown. https://t.co/QKW7oeLW2a #PeoriaPDAZ #Peoriapoliceaz #Peoriaaz #westvalley pic.twitter.com/8YWMhs6N2o— Peoria Police (AZ) (@PeoriaPoliceAZ) June 18, 2021
Over the span of 90 minutes on Thursday, police say Ashin Tricarico fired bullets at multiple people, seemingly at random.
Tricarico was taken into custody around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, and police believe he acted alone.
He is facing charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, drive-by shooting, and endangerment. According to a video from his initial appearance in court, Tricarico has a juvenile criminal record.
In total, four people were shot, one fatally, and nine others suffered various injuries in at least eight separate drive-by shootings that happened in Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, and along the West Valley freeways.
The man who was shot and killed has been identified as 67-year-old David Liebler.
The victims who were not shot suffered other injuries, such as being struck by shrapnel from broken glass, according to Brandon Sheffert, public information officer for the Peoria Police Department, the agency leading the investigation.
Surprise police, Glendale police, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, FBI, and ATF are also assisting with the investigations.
Anyone with information or who has been unable to get in contact with a family member or friend is asked to contact Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS, Sheffert said.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE SHOOTINGS
Loop 101 and Olive Avenue
According to police reports released Friday afternoon, Tricarico's violent spree across the West Valley began with an incident around 6 p.m. Wednesday at a Circle K near Loop 101 and Olive Avenue.
A man reported to police that Tricarico had exited the store and saw him on his phone inside his vehicle, then Tricarico chambered a round in what appeared to be an assault rifle before pointing it at the victim.
When he threatened to call police, Tricarico left the parking lot and the victim drove in the same direction. A short distance away, at 99th and Olive avenues, Tricarico reportedly pulled out his gun and fired a shot but did not hit the victim's car. He then drove away, and the victim reported the incident to police.
103rd and Northern avenues
Just after 11 a.m. Thursday, police received multiple reports of shots fired near 103rd and Northern avenues in Peoria.
Witnesses reportedly saw Tricarico fire shots at a Kia sedan before a woman was seen exiting the car, apparently injured. Police said the victim was hit by shrapnel and was treated by medical crews at the scene. The woman's 3-year-old daughter was also inside the car at the time, seated in the rear driver-side seat but was not hurt.
Police said the woman's car had two "projectile strikes" on the front windshield and one on the driver-side door.
Several witnesses saw Tricarico flee the scene in a white Volkswagen SUV. One person followed the vehicle and was able to get the number of its temporary license plate.
Loop 101 and Thunderbird
A short time later, around 11:30 a.m., police received another call for a shooting off of the Loop 101 at Thunderbird. At the time they did not realize the incident was tied to any other incidents. The call was routed to Arizona Department of Public Service, but they were unable to locate anything.
At 2:18 p.m. Thursday, Peoria police found David Liebler shot and killed in his truck in the canal that runs adjacent to the freeway.
According to the original witness, he saw a white Volkswagen SUV pull up alongside the red pickup truck and heard a "pop," then saw the truck veer off the freeway near Thunderbird Road. The Volkswagen continued northbound, exiting at Bell Road.
After seeing coverage of the shooting spree, the original witness reached back out to police, helping them locate the truck that afternoon.
110th Avenue and Union Hills Drive
Just 10 minutes later, at 11:40 a.m., a Peoria officer saw a Chrysler sedan with a shattered rear windshield and a projectile strike in a rear window pull off the road near 107th Avenue and Union Hills Drive.
The officer contacted the female driver, who reported that she heard a loud noise and her windshield shattered near 111th Avenue and Union Hills Drive but didn't see anyone shoot at her. The victim was not injured in the incident.
Around the same time, a man and his daughter were also driving near 110th Avenue and Union Hills Drive when their Chevrolet sedan was struck by gunfire on the driver side door, hitting the woman in her leg. The man, who was driving, suffered minor injuries after being hit by shrapnel.
The man told police he saw someone in the driver's seat of a white SUV fire three shots at his vehicle but did not see the suspect.
Between 107th Avenue and 115th Avenue on Bell Road
At 11:45 a.m., Surprise police received reports of two separate shootings at 115th Avenue and Bell Road.
A man was walking on the sidewalk near 115th Avenue when he saw someone in a white SUV shooting at him. The victim, who was not struck by Tricarico's shots, fired back at the suspect with his own weapon.
In the same area, a man was driving his pickup truck westbound on Bell Road when a white SUV pulled up alongside him and the driver pulled out a weapon "larger than a handgun" and opened fire on the victim in his truck.
The victim was hit in the head by shrapnel. Police later found two projectile strikes through the back window of his truck.
El Mirage and Bell roads
Police have not filed charges yet in this incident, but say three people in a Toyota minivan reported that they were shot at by someone driving a white SUV around 11:50 a.m. Projectiles passed through the victim's vehicle from the driver side to the passenger side.
Police believe the incident to be related to the spree, but an investigation is ongoing.
Loop 303 and Happy Valley Road
At noon on Thursday, the Peoria Fire Department reported to Peoria police that they had found an additional shooting victim near Loop 303 and Happy Valley Road.
Responding FBI agents contacted three people in a red van that had been shot at.
The victims reported hearing multiple shots fired at their vehicle before being hit by shrapnel from a broken window. Two of the three people were injured.
Just after 12:30 p.m., Surprise police were notified by the Surprise Fire Department, who had been made aware of the situation and the suspect description, that one of their trucks had seen the suspect's vehicle at a QuikTrip near Grand Avenue and Mountain View Boulevard.
Responding officers located Tricarico's SUV and took him into custody. An AR-15 rifle and two rifle magazines were located inside the vehicle.
In an interview with police, Tricarico reportedly admitted to several of the shootings, but not all.
The 19-year-old told officers he believed he was being followed for the last week, and thought a shooting incident he'd been involved in the prior month while working as a security guard was the reason. Tricarico was reportedly working security at a bar when a patron who'd been cut off from drinking rushed toward him angrily, prompting Tricarico to shoot the man.
"Ashin thinks every vehicle and person he drives past is pointing a gun at him," police stated in their report.
Tricarico told officers when he left his home Thursday morning, he went to a car wash where a man followed him in and pointed a gun at him. Realizing he didn't have any ammunition for his rifle, he reportedly went to a sporting goods store and purchased four boxes of ammunition.
According to police documents, Tricarico said the pedestrian in the 115th Avenue and Bell Road incident shot at him first, and the driver in the Loop 303 and Happy Valley Road incident pulled his gun first, so Tricario opened fire.
SHOOTING VICTIM WORKING ON RECOVERY
One of the victims, Justin Gamazo, is lucky to be alive. He was grazed in the side of the head by a bullet while running a work errand on Thursday.
Gamazo was driving near El Mirage and Bell Road when the suspected shooter opened fire at Gamazo's truck. The bullet first hit the truck, then Gamazo's head.
"A little up, a little down, any of those factors could have really adversely changed those factors for him," said Charles Johnson, Gamazo's boss at Desert ATV. "I think that’s something that I would anticipate he’s really going to struggle with for a while."
Johnson said bullet fragments had to be removed from Gamazo's head. Cognitively, Gamazo is doing well, but his head and face are in pain from the bullet wound. Gamazo is at home recovering with family.
A GoFundMe has been created by Johnson to help with medical expenses. Gamazo was unable to speak to ABC15 due the fact that it's difficult to open his mouth from the pain and swelling.
SUPPORT FOR WEST VALLEY AUTHORITIES
In a tweet on Thursday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey offered his support to Peoria officials.
“We are maintaining close contact with Peoria officials today following the shootings & we will continue to monitor the situation closely. Arizona’s prayers are with those injured, & our condolences go to the loved ones of the individual whose life was taken by this tragic act. I’ve been in touch with @MayorCCarlat and offered our full support.”