A vicious shooting in Mesa triggered an afternoon of wild rumors, confusion and finally a confrontation in front of a Star Valley mobile home park, where police tasered and captured the suspect.
Police booked Larry Allen Wayt, 23, into a Mesa jail on aggravated assault charges after “voices” prompted him to shoot his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend three times at a Mesa gas station, said Mesa Det. Mike Melendez.
Wayt told officers after his arrest that he had driven by a Circle K in the 7600 block of Baseline Road around noon when he saw his ex-girlfriend in a gold sedan with another man.
Wayt reportedly drove up to the driver’s side of the sedan and shot three times from a .357 Magnum, hitting the man in the wrist, upper arm and chest.
Police have not released the victim’s identity.
Wayt said when he “pulled up, a voice in his head told him to shoot the victim,” Melendez said.
After the shooting, Wayt fled as his ex-girlfriend drove the victim to a hospital.
At the scene of the shooting, a Circle K employee told police what he had seen and officers located the wounded man and the woman (also unidentified) at a hospital. The ex-girlfriend was uninjured.
The shooting victim was airlifted to a Phoenix trauma center with life-threatening injuries. He underwent surgery and is in stable condition now, Melendez said.
Later, police got a call that Wayt was in the Payson area. Melendez did not know who provided that information.
Several plain-clothes officers in unmarked vehicles drove to Payson.
Over the police scanner, local officers were notified that a “homicide suspect” was in the area, but given no details of the incident or where Wayt was last seen. The only information dispatch had was that Wayt was driving a white, lowered Chevy pickup with the license plate XXTREME.
About 4:30 p.m., Mesa officers surrounded Wayt’s truck near Highway 260 and Cornerstone Way. Officers tasered Wayt and he was taken into custody, Melendez said.
Witnesses say they saw Wayt enter a trailer in the Ponderosa Glen Mobile Home Park and that is where officers found the gun hidden in a T-shirt, Melendez said.
Police said on Thursday they did not yet know who the trailer belongs to and whether Wayt knew the owner.