Arizona killings possibly linked


PHOENIX -- Authorities are investigating whether a sheriff's deputy shot to death while answering a burglary call and a New Hampshire couple found dead in their car in Arizona were killed by the same gunman.

Deputy William Coleman was gunned down early Sunday at a north Phoenix medical building.

A man got out of a van and opened fire, striking Coleman under his bulletproof vest, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. The suspect was shot and killed by other deputies,

The Arizona Republic reported that Coleman and a New Hampshire couple found dead in their parked car near the resort town of Sedona on Friday were all shot with a high-powered rifle. And the two crime scenes are connected by Interstate 17.

The theory that the two shootings may be the work of the same gunman could explain why the man decided to open fire on the deputies, Deputy Jeffrey Sprong, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, told the Republic.

"That (a connection) is definitely something our investigators will look into," Sprong said. "It wouldn't surprise me if it turned out to be the same guy."

Yavapai County sheriff's officials says they're comparing evidence with Maricopa County investigators and expect to have results sometime today.

Members of a Jeep club found James Johnson of Jaffrey and Carol Raynsford of Nelson, N.H. in their red older-model Subaru sedan at a remote turnout on Arizona 89A on Friday morning.

Someone shot them with a .223-caliber rifle while they were parked on a highway turnout, Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said. Detectives found numerous casings from the rifle on both sides of the car.

"It doesn't appear it was provoked in any way, that's what makes it so unusual and baffling for our detectives," he said. D'Evelyn said Johnson and Raynsford were not married but he did not know if they were romantically involved.

 

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