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Police: Phoenix Serial Killer Strikes For Ninth Time

Police haven't come any closer to learning the identity of a serial killer who's believed to have claimed seven lives in five months, but now they say they've linked a July 11 shooting to the man, adding to the pile of evidence against the elusive killer.

The so-called "serial street shooter" apparently picks his targets at random, according to Phoenix police, and has established a pattern of shooting at people standing outside of their homes or waiting in cars in the early morning or evening.

In the July 11 attack, the shooter fired at a man and a four-year-old boy sitting in a car. No one was injured in the shooting, but now that police have linked that shooting to the mystery gunner, the tally of attacks credited to him has increased to nine.

"The threat is still alive," Phoenix Police Sgt. Jonathan Howard told NBC News on July 29. "We don't want to see anybody else get hurt. We want to make an arrest and stop this."

Howard said he's grateful the shooter missed his latest targets, but "if there can be a benefit to something like this, it's that we did obtain additional evidence."

After speaking to witnesses, police said they believe the killer has been using several different cars, including a white Cadillac or Lincoln, and a late '90s or early 2000s 5 series BMW, People magazine reported.

All but two of the shootings happened in the blue-collar Maryvale neighborhood, according to CBS News.

Police initially offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the killer's arrest, but have upped the reward to $50,000 as the man remains on the loose. The FBI is also helping Phoenix police with the investigation, and authorities have pleaded with the public to come forward with any information about the identity of the killer.

The suspect is described as a thin white or light-skinned Hispanic man in his 20s. Forensic sketches put together from witness accounts depict a man with high cheekbones and close-cropped hair.

The deadliest of the attacks was the June 12 murder of Stefanie Ellis, her 12-year-old daughter Maleah, and family friend Angela Linner. While the two women and young girl were sitting in a car in front of their home and listening to music, the suspect pulled up alongside them and fired over 30 shots, killing all three.

In an interview with People, the family pleaded for people to come forward with information.

"The gunshots woke me up ... I'm the one that actually found them in the car," said Sylvester Ellis, the brother of Stefanie and uncle of Maleah. "And life hasn't been the same."

Sources: NBC News, People, CBS News / Photo credit: City of Phoenix Police Department/Facebook

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