Police probe possible link between Arizona deaths

January 9, 2012 - 1:00 PM
Arizona Deputy Killed

This photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's office shows deputy William Coleman. Coleman, 50 was shot and killed while answering a burglary call in the north Phoenix community of Anthem early Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, and other deputies shot the suspect, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. (AP Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona authorities hope to get ballistic results back Monday to determine if a deputy sheriff fatally shot while answering a burglary call and a New Hampshire couple found dead in their car were killed by the same gunman.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said investigators are examining a possible link between the shootings because similar guns are believed to have been used in both cases.

"Because of the type of weapon used up in Sedona, he could be the guy," Arpaio said.

Deputy William Coleman, 50, was gunned down early Sunday at a north Phoenix medical building.

A man got out of a van and opened fire and struck Coleman under his bulletproof vest.

The suspect, whose identity hasn't been released, was fatally shot by other deputies.

Members of a Jeep club found James Johnson of Jaffrey, N.H., and Carol Raynsford of Nelson, N.H., on Friday morning in their sedan at a remote turnout on Arizona 89A. Someone shot them with a .223-caliber rifle while they were parked on a highway turnout. Detectives found numerous casings from the rifle on both sides of the car.

The couple was apparently vacationing in the area and detectives are trying to trace their travels.

Authorities have posted a reward and are asking anyone with information to call the sheriff's office or the county's Silent Witness program.

Investigators said they aren't sure when Johnson and Raynsford were killed.

Some callers reported seeing the car parked at the turnout on Thursday, and detectives are using receipts and other items found inside the vehicle to try to trace their steps and establish a timeline.

Coleman was a 20-year veteran. He is survived by a wife and two young children, ages 4 and 7, Arpaio said. He also has grown children in another state.

Coleman was assigned as a patrol deputy but had previously worked the sheriff's lake patrol unit.