Notorious Crimes in Tucson and by Tucsonans

Beltway Snipers

The Beltway sniper attacks took place during three weeks of October 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Ten people were killed and three others critically injured by these spree killers.  The two men responsible for these attacks were Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad. There was a similar shooting that occurred on March 19, 2000, while these two were staying in Tucson. Jerry Taylor was killed by a sniper as he practiced at the Fred Enke Golf Course. In October 2006, Lee Boyd Malvo confessed to shooting Jerry Taylor.


"Malvo 'sorry for family' of victim here."  Tucson Citizen. October 28, 2006. Page 1.

Cult-related Murder-Suicide

Angela M. Smith, was killed on January 8, 2005 by a man she helped raise in Family International, also known as the Family and The Children of God. The man, Ricky Rodriguez drove to Blythe, California and shot himself to death. A book about this crime was published in 2007: Lattin, Don. Jesus freaks: a true story of murder and madness on the evangelical edge. New York, NY: HarperOne. 2007.


"Lives lost: A look at the victims." Tucson Citizen.  December 30, 2005. Page A4.

“Murder suspect, a suicide, raised by cult to lead -The Family, a spiritual counterculture group, saw Richard Rodriguez as preordained to be its spiritual leader." Tucson Citizen. January 12, 2005. Page A5.

Jared Lee Loughner/January 8, 2011 Shooting

On January 8, 2011, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was among 18 people shot at a Safeway supermarket on Oracle and Ina in Tucson. The shooter was 22-year old Tucson resident Jared Loughner. Giffords was holding a community event entitled “Congress at Your Corner” at the time of the shooting, and victims included the Congresswoman, members of her staff, and members of the public. Congresswoman Giffords and others were severely wounded, and six people were killed.


“Judge Roll, girl, 3 retirees, aide slain in attack on congresswoman.” Arizona Daily Star. January 9, 2011.

“Rep. Giffords shot, judge and 5 others killed at Tucson event.” Arizona Daily Star. January 8, 2011.

Murder of a Pediatric Eye Doctor

Dr. David Brian Stidham, 37, a pediatric ophthalmologist, was found stabbed to death in his office parking lot at 4727 North First Avenue, on October 5, 2004.  Dr. Bradley A. Schwartz, 39, and Ronald Bruce Bigger, 38, were convicted for this October 4, 2004 murder.  Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Stidham had been partners. When Schwartz's license was suspended for drug abuse, Stidham started his own practice, and some of Schwartz's staff and patients followed Stidham. Dr. Schwarz was jealous of Dr. Stidham so he hired Ronald Bruce Bigger to murder Dr. Stidham.


"Jurors: Hit man duped into murdering doctor - Blame for death lies largely with victim's ex-boss, they say.” Tucson Citizen. May 17, 2007. Page 1.

Pallack, Becky. “Tucson children's physician is slain., opens a new window”  Arizona Daily Star. October 7, 2004. Page 1. (NewsBank online resource, opens a new window.)

Nursing College Murders at the UA

On October 28, 2002 a student at the UA Nursing College shot and killed three professors.  The professors killed were: Cheryl M. McGaffic, Barbara S. Monroe and Robin E. Rogers.  The shooter, Robert S. Flores Jr. killed himself after he shot the professors.

The Arizona Daily Star published a letter sent to them by Robert S. Flores before he committed these murders.  This letter WAS NOT PUBLISHED in the Arizona Daily Star newspaper.  It was only published online at  The letter was titled "Communication from the dead."  There is a copy of it in the Joel D. Valdez Main Library Vertical File under "Crime and Criminals--Nursing College Murders.


"Evil, grief at UA." Arizona Daily Star. October 29, 2002. Page 1.

Patrick Henry—Attempted Murder

In 1979 Patrick Gerald Henry was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for the attempted murder of his wife Christina.  Patrick and Christina were married in Tucson.  They eventually moved away.  After the couple was divorced, Christina moved back to Tucson.  Patrick was apprehended while he was flying to Tucson to murder his wife. A book was written about this called Deadly Intentions, this book was later made into a television movie.


"UA medical school to celebrate 25th anniversary." Arizona Daily Star.  November 16, 1992. Page B3

Pied Piper of Tucson--Serial Murderer Charles Schmid

Serial murderer Charles Schmid was arrested November 11, 1965 and convicted of murdering three Tucson girls in March 1966. Time, Life, and Newsweek articles appeared in March 1966.  There is a book written about this crime titled the Pied Piper of Tucson.

Rashad Khalifa

On January 31 1990, 54-year old imam Rashad Khalifa was found stabbed and beaten to death at an East Sixth Street mosque. In 2012, a Pima County jury found 52-year old Glen Francis guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder in the case. Khalifa was survived by a son, Sam Khalifa, former shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.


Smith, Kim. "Man convicted in imam's 1990 slaying, opens a new window". Arizona Daily Star. December 20, 2012. (Newsbank online resource, opens a new window).

Brownfield, Paul. "Briefly a Rising Star, Forever a Mourning Son, opens a new window." New York Times. January 1, 2013.

Roommate Murder at the University of Arizona

On September 5, 2007 Mia Henderson was killed in the Graham-Greenlee Residence Hall at the UA. Her roommate, Galareka Harrison was arrested and later convicted of her murder.  Mia Henderson was murdered by her roommate, Galareka Harrison.


Quinn, Dale and Cathalena E. Burch. "Roommate held in UA slaying, opens a new window." Arizona Daily Star.  September 6, 2007. Page 1. (Newsbank online resource, opens a new window.)

Innes, Staphanie. "UA killer gets life, no parole, opens a new window." Arizona Daily Star. November 26, 2008. Page B1. (Newsbank online resource, opens a new window).

Stalking and Murder of Rebecca Schaeffer

On July 18, 1989 Robert John Bardo (from Tucson) murdered Rebecca Schaeffer. Schaeffer was the star of a television series called My Sister Sam. Robert John Bardo had become obsessed with her.  He had a private detective locate her address. Bardo left Tucson and traveled to California where he shot and killed Schaeffer at her home in West Hollywood.


"Actress, 21, Is Shot and Killed After She Opens Front Door, opens a new window." New York Times, July 19, 1989. (Biography in Context online resource, opens a new window).

"Police trace fan's obsession with Schaeffer, opens a new window." Globe & Mail. July 21, 1989. (Biography in Context online resource, opens a new window).

UA Cancer Center researcher killed by roommate who then commits suicide

A University of Arizona Cancer Center researcher was stabbed and shot several times by his roommate, who then killed himself outside their midtown home Tuesday night, police said.

When police responded to the shooting call, they found 32-year-old Jadrian Rusche and 30-year-old Michael Kistner suffering from gunshot wounds in the street, said Sgt. Chris Widmer, a Tucson police spokesman.


Cruz, Veronica M. and Carmen Duarte. "UA Cancer Center researcher killed by roommate who then commits suicide, police say, opens a new window." Arizona Daily Star– September 5, 2013.

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