Tuesday marks two-year anniversary of mass shooting in Tucson

Suspect Leslie Scarlett three days after he was shot by a police officer during a crime spree
(Source: KOLD News 13)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:27 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 18, 2023 at 4:39 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Tuesday marked two years since a deadly mass shooting in Tucson left three people dead and several others injured.

On July 19, 2021, a suspect killed his girlfriend, set fire to a house and then shot first responders and Good Samaritans battling the blaze.

Below is a breakdown of everyone involved in the tragedy.

The Suspect: Leslie Stephen Scarlett

(Tucson Police Department)

Authorities identified the suspect as Leslie Stephen Scarlett, a 35-year-old Tucson man with a criminal history.

The Tucson Police Department said Scarlett, who died July 22, set fire to a home near South Campbell Avenue and East Irene Vista.

Scarlett then shot two EMTs at the Quincie Douglas Center at Silverlake Park before going back home.

While there, Scarlett shot a firefighter and two neighbors who were just trying to help battle the blaze.

Scarlett was later stopped by a TPD officer during a shootout. A body was recovered from the home and was identified as Jennifer Fells, who was in a relationship with Scarlett.

According to court records, Scarlett has had several run-ins with law enforcement in Pima County.

In January 2006, Scarlett was accused of an attempt to commit armed robbery. In June 2007, he was sentenced to six years in prison and was released in August 2013. While in jail, he was convicted of several disciplinary actions -- promoting prison contraband, disobeying orders and drug possession/manufacturing.

In December 2016, Scarlett was found guilty of disorderly conduct. The court dismissed a charge of assault after a plea deal was reached in September 2017.

On Jan. 8, 2021, there was a fire at a home across the street from the house that burned Sunday. Three people were injured -- Scarlett, his mother Ruth Monica Scarlett Webb and Richard Harwell.

Webb died the next day while Harwell died Feb. 26. Scarlett posted the following about his mother.

“My mother was a migrant to America a woman who thought me how to love and learn and think outside the box,” he wrote on her obit page. “Ruth Webb (was) a woman of determination - explorer by her on right, God-driven woman always had kind words.”

The Officer: Danny Leon

Scarlett tried to flee the scene of the shooting and house fire in a silver SUV.

As Scarlett approached the intersection of East 36th Street and South Campbell Avenue, he rammed a TPD vehicle driven by officer Danny Leon.

After the crash, Scarlett got out of his vehicle and started shooting at Leon.

Leon, an eight-year veteran of the TPD, returned fire, hit Scarlett in the head and ended the threat.

In Leon’s body cam video, which can be watched below, you can see the officer performing first aid on Scarlett after the shooting.

Victim 1: Jennifer Fells

The body found in the home Sunday has been identified as Jennifer Fells, who was in a relationship with Scarlett. The TPD said the 36-year-old Fells, who had three children, had been shot.

The TPD initially reported the three children missing after the shooting, but said they were found safe at a relative’s home.

“On Sunday evening our family, along with many others, was changed forever in a senseless act of violence,” wrote Christina Runyan, Fells’ sister. “Multiple innocent individuals, along with first responders, were injured and/or lost their lives in this act of violence against the community.

My sister, Jennifer lost her life - leaving behind her three children. We are incredibly thankful for the individuals who risked their lives to try to help her and we thank god her children were not with her during this traumatic event.”

EMT 1: Jacob “Jake” Dindiger

Jacob Dindinger
(Tucson Police Department)

According to AMR of Southern Arizona, Jacob Dindinger succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, July 29.

Jacob “Jake” Dindiger was in his ambulance at Silverlake Park for an unrelated medical call.

The TPD said Scarlett approached the vehicle and opened fire, hitting the 20-year-old Dindiger in the head.

A graduate of Canyon Del Oro High School in Tucson, Dindiger started working as an EMT just four months ago.

Cade Hansen, Dindiger’s friend, set up a GoFundMe account for the family. As of July 22, more than $100,000 has been raised.

The following was written about Dindiger.

”Jake is the cherished son of Corrine and James Dindinger. He is a beloved brother, grandson, cousin, and friend. Jake loves sports and is a natural athlete. He has a pure heart and smile that never goes unnoticed, as it brightens every room he walks into.

“Those who have had the privilege of meeting Jake, know the selflessness and determination that he carries with him every day. These traits drove Jake to dedicate his life to helping people as an EMT with the goal of becoming a firefighter, like his big brother Bryan.”

EMT 2: Cassandra Moreno

According to Global Medical Response, the second EMT who was shot is Cassandra Moreno.

Moreno was hit in the arm and chest but survived.

Despite her injuries, Moreno was able to call 911 and describe Scarlett and his vehicle.

“Cassandra is suffering from serious, but thankfully not life-threatening wounds,” Global Medical Response said in a post. “Please continue to pray hard for both of them and their families who have not left their sides this week. They need our love and support.”

According to a GoFundMe account, Moreno was able to provide first aid to Dindiger, likely saving his life.

Tucson Fire Captain: Unnamed

A captain with the Tucson Fire Department was injured in the shooting.

The 17-year veteran was hit in the arm and was released and released from the hospital late Sunday night.

13 News has asked to talk to him, but the TFD said he is not ready to speak with the media.

Good Samaritan I: Cory Saunders

Cory Michael Saunders, 44, was one of two neighbors who tried to help firefighters put out the blaze Scarlett set.

Saunders was shot in the head following an argument with Scarlett and died at the scene, according to TPD. Saunders’ young son witnessed the shooting.

Melissa Snyder, Saunder’s girlfriend, took to social media to express her grief over losing Saunders.

“I miss you too much,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I want to wake up from this living nightmare. How will I get through my days without your daily selfie’s to me.”

“You loved my girls like the dad they deserved! You even loved their boyfriends. You ‘loved all your kids’ as you’d say! I’m in complete and utter shock I honestly can’t even wrap my head around any of it. Every day was perfect with you my love and I will be missing you for the rest of my life! I love you so much! You died a HERO today.”

Good Samaritan I: Unnamed

Another neighbor, who has not been named, also tried to help crews put out the fire.

He was grazed by a bullet but was otherwise unharmed.

Copyright 2023 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.