Ryan Giroux, 41, is charged in the shootings that left one dead and others injured

By Tara Fowler
Updated March 19, 2015 10:50 AM
Arizona Department of Corrections/AP

At just after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, police say, Ryan Giroux walked into a room at the Tri-City Inn in Mesa, Arizona, and shot one person dead and injured two others.

From there, the 41-year-old ex-con went on a shooting spree across the city, wounding at least three more people before he was finally apprehended following a four-hour manhunt, The New York Times reports.

His motivations remain murky. The violence, authorities say, started with an argument at the coral-colored hotel. It was there that Giroux fatally shot David Williams, 29, witnesses told The Republic. Police have not identified any of the victims.

Williams’s girlfriend, Veronica Ehrig, told the paper that she was outside the room when the shooting happened.

“He said something to David,” Ehrig said. “David said something back, and that dude just pulled out a gun and point-blank just shot David and shot his mom.” A second woman was also shot.

She ran in to help, “but there was no helping him. There was blood everywhere.”

Giroux’s prominent tattoos, which include the words “skin” and “head” over his eyebrows, have some wondering whether the violence was a hate crime. Indeed, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, identifies Giroux as a neo-Nazi.

However, while police acknowledge his tattoos are those typically seen on a white supremacist, they believe it’s unlikely the rampage was motivated by hate.

“We don’t know exactly what he was doing there, but he was asking for something in particular. We don’t know if it was drugs, money – those things will be worked out through the investigation,” Mesa Police Detective Esteban Flores told The Republic.

Added Mesa Detective Steve Berry: “[The incident] had nothing to do with gang affiliation or a hate crime.”

Authorities say that apart from the first shooting, “everything else seems to be random” – the desperate behavior of a man who knows he’s wanted, the Times reports.

The 41-year-old was eventually tracked down after he was spotted standing on the balcony of a vacant condominium. He was shot with a Taser, then taken to the hospital for treatment before police questioned him late Wednesday. He has not been charged yet.

Giroux has a history of violence, with convictions for drug possession, theft and aggravated assault, according to Arizona Department of Corrections records. He’s been in and out of prison since 1993.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.