Police arrest suspect after Phoenix motel shooting over drug debt

  • In US
  • 2022-01-20 21:05:36Z
  • By AZCentral | The Arizona Republic
A Phoenix police vehicle.
A Phoenix police vehicle.  

Phoenix police arrested Ruben Ruiz III in connection with the death of a man who was found fatally shot in a motel room Wednesday morning.

Phoenix police responded to a report that a man had been shot at a north Phoenix motel near 23rd Avenue and Bell Road at around 4:30 a.m., police spokesman Sgt. Philip Krynsky said.

When officers arrived, they found the man with a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Phoenix Fire Department personnel.

Police contacted a female friend of the man who said she knew the victim was going to sell a narcotic pill to Ruiz. The man owed Ruiz $8,000 for drugs but was able to negotiate the debt down to $2,000, according to court documents.

The woman told police she knew her friend was banned from motel property due to a history of drug sales.

The man only arrived at the motel because he did not want to go to his mother's or brother's respective motels because Ruiz had visited them in recent months to collect his debt. He arrived at the motel at about 3:16 a.m., court documents stated.

Ruiz, 22, told one of the man's relatives that he intended to harm him in some way even if the debt was paid because he wanted to make an example out of him.

Both the man and his friend were inside the motel room when there was a knock on the door. Ruiz entered the room shortly thereafter and pointed a gun at the man.

The man had taken a step away from Ruiz when he was shot in the back of the head, according to the documents. Ruiz took the man's handgun and left the motel room.

The man's friend identified Ruiz as the shooter.

The friend told motel management to call 911. As the night manager traveled towards the room, she saw a man running away from the room. During the on-scene investigation police found a casing, a bullet hole in the wall, blue pills and other drug paraphernalia inside the motel room, court documents stated.

Investigators found Ruiz at an apartment complex nearby. He was seen entering multiple apartments. Ruiz was apprehended after leaving the apartment complex, court documents stated.

Ruiz was taken to police headquarters for an interview. He denied being on hotel property the morning of the shooting. However, Ruiz did confirm that he had sold drugs with the man in the past, according to court documents.

He felt particularly disappointed that the man had stolen $2,000 from him, but he was especially angry that the man owed him money and was not paying his debt.

Ruiz denied shooting the man.

He was later booked into a Maricopa County jail on suspicion of murder in the first degree.

A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 28. His bail was set at $500,000.

Republic reporter BrieAnna J. Frank contributed to this report.

Reach breaking news reporter Amaris Encinas at amaris.encinas@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @amarisencinas.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Police arrest suspect Ruben Ruiz III after Phoenix motel shooting


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