When 19-year-old Ashin Tricarico allegedly terrified the West Valley with a string of drive-by shootings, many residents were shocked.
However, one teen said he believed the senseless shootings were the end of a dark path Tricarico had been headed down since he was in high school.
“I hadn’t heard his name since freshman year of high school, but as surprised as I was to hear that he had committed those crimes, I wasn’t shocked to see that he had gone down that path in life,” said Cole McCutcheon, who played football with Tricarico at Sandra Day O’Connor High School.
Tricarico was reportedly kicked off the football team his freshman year for causing disruptions in the classrooms and, reportedly, drug use.
“From what I understand, our coach had decided that having him be a part of the program did more harm than good,” McCutcheon said.
Police said the investigation into the June 17 90-minute drive-by shooting rampage will take time, as the eight scenes are complex.
“With multiple agencies involved and the fact that this person went on this spree for an hour and a half, there is a lot for us to investigate,” said Peoria Police Department Sgt. Brandon Sheffert.
The multijurisdictional investigation involves the Peoria, Surprise and Glendale police departments; Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office; the Arizona Department of Public Safety; FBI and ATF. The Peoria Police Department is the lead investigative agency.
Tricarico was taken into custody without incident in his hometown of Surprise. His motive is unknown.
“The reason that this guy was taken into custody so quickly was because of the great teamwork among agencies that gave us the ability to share information with our neighboring partners,” Sheffert said.
“The Surprise Police Department also did a fantastic job working on tracking down this vehicle and getting the suspect into custody. I also want to note that our fire agencies through the West Valley were extremely busy tending to injuries and transporting people during all of this, and they did a phenomenal job doing everything they could.”
The first shooting occurred near 103rd and Northern Avenue around 11:10 a.m., when a call came in of a driver in a white Volkswagen Tiguan that had randomly opened fire.
Police later responded to a call of a vehicle off the road near the 101 and Thunderbird Road, where a 56-year-old man was shot. The as-of-yet unidentified man later died of his injuries.
The other scenes occurred near 109th Avenue and Union Hills Drive, 111th Avenue and Union Hills Drive, 113th Avenue and Bell Road, 118th Avenue and Bell Road, Loop 303 and Happy Valley Road, and 21800 N. El Mirage Road.
Around 12:42 p.m., a Surprise Fire-Medical Department employee noticed the Tiguan driving on 147th Avenue and Grand and immediately alerted Surprise police, who later stopped the vehicle. The weapon was found at the scene.
“We’re happy that he gave up and was compliant with our officers,” said Surprise Police Sgt. Tommy Hale.
The Loop 101 northbound was closed from Thunderbird Road to Grand Avenue to accommodate the investigation.
The victims range in age from 19 to 56 and are males and females of various races, according to Surprise Police Sgt. Tommy Hale. A 3-year-old child was in one of the vehicles that was shot at but was not struck or injured.
Banner Health received nine patients at its hospitals in connection with the shootings. Two were transported to Banner Health Boswell, three to Banner Health Thunderbird and four to Banner Health Del Webb.
Though this was a tragic situation, police were thankful with how quickly they apprehended the suspect and that there were no further incidents.
Sheffert said the responding agencies have a heavy heart for the deceased’s loved ones as well as with those who arrived at the murder scene.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of the deceased as well as our officers and the firefighters who had to deal with this all day,” Sheffert said.
There are resources available to victims and employees of the Peoria and Surprise police departments as they sort through this incident.
“We have a victims assistance program for the victims and those involved, including our officers,” Sheffert said.
Though the crimes are still under investigation, police have strong reason to believe that the shooter acted alone.
“We have no information at all to allude to a second shooter,” Hale said. “The suspect was taken into custody, and there is no reason for the public to feel unsafe.”
If anyone has any further information for police, they are encouraged to call the Peoria Police Department at 623-773-8311 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.
It was later reported that Tricarico was involved in May 5 incident near Black Canyon Access and Dunlap Avenue.
Tricarico was working as a licensed armed security guard at a restaurant and was asked to deal with a male customer who was reportedly intoxicated and causing a disturbance.
Tricarico went outside to call 911. The man followed and allegedly charged Tricarico, who fired one shot, striking the man, which can be heard on the 911 call. The adult male was transported to a local hospital with a nonlife-threatening injury. Tricarico remained on scene and cooperated with investigators. Tricarico claimed he shot in self-defense. Evidence from the scene, including the gun, was impounded and remains in Phoenix police custody.
The aggravated assault case is under investigation. The department is awaiting forensic analysis of physical evidence. Once completed, the report will be turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review.