Ryan Giroux, suspect in Arizona shooting rampage, has long criminal history

Suspect in Mesa, Ariz., shootings captured, identified as 41-year-old Ryan Giroux

Ryan Giroux, accused of gunning a bloody swath through a Phoenix suburb Wednesday, shooting six people and killing one, is an ex-convict who had most recently spent more than seven years in prison for attempted assault, police said.

The 41-year-old suspect was released from an Arizona prison in October 2013.

Giroux has a lengthy criminal history that includes convictions for assault in Arizona and in Los Angeles County, court records show. He has landed in state prison three times since 1994.

On Thursday morning, Giroux made a brief appearance in a Maricopa County, Ariz., court, where he faces several charges that include first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bail has been set at $2 million.

The suspect was found Wednesday in a vacant condominium in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb, said Det. Esteban Flores, a Mesa police spokesman. He was captured after officers used a stun gun.

Members of the Mesa police SWAT team had been searching the complex and spotted the suspect standing on a balcony, Flores said.

It was not clear whether Giroux was armed at the time of his arrest, and Flores would not say whether the gun used in the shootings was recovered. 

“This really was a classic, textbook operation of putting your training into effect," Mesa Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh said.

The wave of violence that rocked Mesa began shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday, when three people were shot after an argument in the Tri-City Inn on West Main Street, Flores told reporters during an earlier news briefing.

One man was pronounced dead at the scene, Flores said, and two women there were wounded but are expected to survive.

Police said the cause of the argument was unclear, but Flores said investigators believed Giroux knew the three people who were shot.

The gunman then raced outside and continued firing, wounding a student sitting in Bistro 13, a restaurant on the campus of the East Valley Institute of Technology across the street from the hotel. Seconds later, the man carjacked a gray Honda and fled the area, Flores said.

While police were responding to the first spate of shootings, emergency personnel received additional calls about shootings at a pair of apartment complexes in another part of the city. The suspect apparently tried to break into two apartments and shot men at both locations, Flores said.

The victim of the shooting at the campus restaurant is expected to survive, Flores said. One of the men wounded in the apartment shootings was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, Flores said, and the other is expected to survive.

Giroux has been incarcerated more than once in Maricopa County, Ariz., for burglary, theft, a drug offense and attempted aggravated assault, according to state correctional records.

He was sentenced to three years in prison for burglary and theft convictions in 1993, and he spent an additional seven years in prison after he was convicted of attempted assault in 2006.

He was last released from prison in October 2013, records show.

Giroux was also arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon twice in Los Angeles County. He was convicted first in 2000 and again in 2006, according to court records, though it is not clear how long he was incarcerated.

Flores did not identify the man who was killed in the hotel shooting and a motive in the attacks remains unclear.

An undated photo of Giroux provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections show tattoos covering his face, including the number 88 on his left temple and a Celtic design on his chin. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "88" is "neo-Nazi code for Heil Hitler (because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet)." The group also said that, for white supremacists, a Celtic cross represents the white race.

Wednesday's booking photo, however, shows that those tattoos are now absent. Mesa police spokesman Det. Steve Berry said investigators had "nothing to indicate [Wednesday's rampage] has anything to do with white supremacy at all."

Police SWAT teams from the nearby communities of Tempe, Gilbert and Scottsdale were involved in the search, interim Mesa police Chief John Meza said. 

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered his condolences to the victims of the shootings and praised the quick response by local law enforcement.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families impacted by the tragedy in Mesa today," he said in a statement. "Our deepest thanks are with the Valley police and first responders who assisted the victims and tracked down the perpetrator to bring this dangerous situation to an end.”

Times staff writers Christine Mai-Duc and Kurtis Lee contributed to this report.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT on Twitter for breaking news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

10:39 a.m. March 19: This article was updated with information about the suspect's tattoos.

9:43 a.m. March 19: This article was updated with the suspect's court appearance.

6:49 p.m. March 18: This article was updated with police confirming the suspect's identity and comments from Mesa police Det. Steve Berry.

3:16 p.m. March 18: This article was updated with a source confirming the suspect's identity as Ryan Giroux.

2:26 p.m. March 18: This article was updated with additional information about the capture of the suspect.

1:29 p.m. March 18: This article was updated to add the arrest of the suspect.

12:32 p.m. March 18: This article was updated with information from a police news conference.

The first version of this article was published at 11:14 a.m. March 18.

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