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Police hoping for leads in Phoenix arson, murder cases

(Silent Witness Photo)

An arsonist allegedly set fire to Los Toritos Mexican Restaurant near 32nd Street and McDowell Road on, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 about 9:30 a.m.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Jamie Rothschild said the suspect drove up in a dark-colored pick-up truck.

“She didn’t go into the parking lot,” he said. “She goes into an alley. We know that because we have video surveillance.”

The woman walked up to the counter and apparently asked for the restroom key.

Rothschild said that, when she went into the restroom, “She had a purse, but when she left, she didn’t and it’s moments after she leaves that the fire starts.”

Meanwhile, she’d taken off in a hurry out the door. Police have really good surveillance pictures and video so she should be easy to recognize.

They’d also like any information about why the fire might have been set.

Read more about this case.


Next, a brutal murder near 67th and Missouri avenue, north of Camelback Road.

“Our suspect, Ervin Mendoza, was on a bus with his girlfriend,” Rothschild said.  “The two were arguing and when they got off the bus, they began walking separately on 67th Avenue but in the same direction.”

That’s when 25-year-old Damon Yazzie, who’d also gotten off the bus, approached the girlfriend and said something to her. Rothschild said the girlfriend screamed for Mendoza who chased the guy down.

“When Mendoza caught up to Yazzie, he shot him. When he fell to the ground, Mendoza continued to shoot him until he died.”

Read more about this case.

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