Prominent psychiatrist in JonBenet case shot to death in Phoenix area

Jun 1, 2018, 9:15 AM | Updated: Jun 2, 2018, 12:36 pm
(Silent Witness)...
(Silent Witness)
(Silent Witness)

PHOENIX — A prominent forensic psychiatrist who provided expertise in the JonBenet Ramsey murder and Columbine High School shooting investigations was shot to death Thursday outside a suburban Phoenix office building.

Dr. Steven Pitt, 59, also worked on numerous cases with the Phoenix Police Department, including the ongoing investigation of Aaron Saucedo, the accused Serial Street Shooter.

“According to witnesses, there was a loud verbal argument heard outside of the offices just before shots were fired. … Phoenix Fire responded and pronounced Dr. Pitt deceased on the scene,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Vince Lewis said.

The shooting took place around 5:30 p.m. outside 15849 North 71st St. in Scottsdale, the address of Steven Pitt & Associates.

The suspect was described as an adult white male, bald and wearing a dark hat with a short brim.

Police had no information on whether the killing was connected to Pitt’s work.

It is believed the shooting is connected to a double homicide that took place in Old Town Scottsdale. Two women who worked as paralegals at the law office of Burt, Feldman, Greneir were shot on Friday.

The victims were Veleria Sharp, 48, and Laura Anderson, 49.

Anyone with information was asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Pitt, a Detroit-area native, also was a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.

He assisted in the investigation into the 1996 death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, a beauty pageant star who was found dead at her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. A prosecutor cleared her parents and brother in 2008 based on DNA evidence.

A decade later, Pitt helped police as they tried to catch an attacker known as the Baseline Killer, who terrorized Phoenix in the summer of 2006. Police eventually arrested Mark Goudeau, and he was convicted of nine killings and 58 other charges.

Pitt also provided expertise in high-profile trials involving pro athletes Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Prominent psychiatrist in JonBenet case shot to death in Phoenix area