Phoenix Shooting Suspects Took Turns

He was always polite to friends. A lover of boxing who decorated his room with drawings of his favorite athletes. A father to a 2-year-old girl, as well as two young sons who died in a tragic car accident.

To many who know him, Dale S. Hausner simply is too sweet, too timid, to have terrorized city residents in a deadly, 15-month rash of late night shootings as police said Friday.

"He doesn't even look like he would know which end of the barrel the bullet would come out of," said Mary Ann Owen, a Las Vegas photographer who knew Hausner since 1999.

Others, however, noticed a change in Hausner's behavior as early as about a year ago. They said he stopped showing up at the boxing matches he had long photographed, and referred to the shooting spree in a suspicious phone call about three weeks ago.

His ex-wife also said he had a dark side, reportedly alleging in 2001 divorce filings that he had threatened to kill her in the Arizona desert.

Hausner and his alleged accomplice, Samuel John Dieteman, have each been booked on two counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted first-degree murder for a series of attacks since May 2005.

Police arrested Hausner, 33, and Dieteman, 30, on Thursday after keeping both under tight surveillance for four days. Authorities say their evidence against the men includes a weapons and a map marking the dozens of shootings. Court documents said Dieteman admitted the pair was involved in some of the crimes.

A person who police did not identify said Dieteman would drive through Phoenix-area cities selecting random targets that he called "RV" — Random Recreational Violence, according to a probable cause statement.

Hausner's daughter was in the apartment when he and Dieteman were arrested outside and was returned to her mother, police said. Linda Swaney posted a sign on the front door of her home saying she wouldn't comment.

Hausner also had two sons, ages 2 and 3, who drowned in a creek after a car crash, according to a 1994 report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The story said Hausner's second wife, Karen, was driving the car and fell asleep while Hausner was in the vehicle.

"My boys drowned in a filthy, freezing cold body of water," Hausner wrote in a 2004 letter to his family obtained by The Arizona Republic. "I tried to get them out but the current was awful and the water was freezing and I almost died trying to get them out."

In a 2001 divorce filing also obtained by the Republic, Karen Hausner wrote that he took her to a deserted place outside Phoenix "and had a shotgun and said he was going to kill me. Dale appears to be unstable emotionally, and I'm afraid he would do harm to myself or people I care about as retribution for me leaving him."

Hausner's first wife, Tracie Hazelett, 33, called her ex-husband mentally abusive and said she was afraid of him, according to her current husband, Davis Hazelett.

"He always struck me as the type of person who would hit you when you're not looking," Davis Hazelett told The Associated Press.

Clement Vierra, owner of the Hard Knocks Gym in Phoenix, said he met Hausner about two years ago and would talk to him at boxing events. But about a year ago, Hausner stopped showing up at the fights.

"It was pretty strange because he was really involved with the boxing," Vierra said.

"He just stopped. Nobody knew where he was. He wouldn't return any calls that we left for him," Vierra said.

An Oregon police officer who runs a Web site for female boxers said that about three weeks ago she got a call from Hausner, who was almost breathless with excitement. He said he needed help with a law enforcement question.

"Dale Hausner has done some (freelance photo) coverage for us in 2003," Sue TL Fox said in a telephone interview. "I kind of terminated him back then, so the call was out of the blue.

"He was excited. He said 'Hey Sue, is the news all over the place about the shootings in Phoenix? I said, no, I haven't been paying attention to that. He said OK. I won't bother you anymore."

Fox said she called Phoenix police about Hausner's call. Like many others who knew Hausner, she's mystified about the charges against him.

At the gated complex where Hausner and Dieteman shared an apartment, Jill O'Donnell, 20, also noticed a change in Hausner in the past month.

She said she had spent a considerable amount of time chatting with Hausner, and he was always "really nice," but lately he "gave off a vibe of someone you didn't want to be too social with."

"He wouldn't say 'Hi."' she said. "He wouldn't wave when I passed him. Little things like that."

Katherine Ramsland, who has written dozens of books on the psychology and habits of criminals, said there are few similarities between serial killers and how they act.

"But it's very obvious (Hausner) had a secret compartment where he put his anger. You'll find people who are quiet and timid but they are in fact angry about not being able to express themselves. The anger builds, and they express it in aggressive ways."

Investigators first started looking for Dieteman in July when he surfaced as a suspect in arson fires at two Glendale Wal-Marts in June. But Phoenix police didn't find Dieteman until Monday, when an investigator spotted him in his car.

Investigators found shotgun cartridges, shotguns and long rifles in the men's apartment, according to the probable cause statement.

Police searching through their trash found a map with red and blue dots representing the locations of the attacks, the document said. The bag also contained an "America's Most Wanted" video and news clippings of the shootings and other attacks linked to another serial assailant dubbed the Baseline Killer.

The men are being investigated in 36 shootings, including some involving animals. They're also suspected of committing two arsons. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Aug. 14.

Hausner's brother, Randy, said Saturday that Deiteman "was a friend of his (Hausner's) that he'd met a while back. I didn't even know they were staying together. And Dale hasn't even known him that long. They met through my other brother."

Court records show that Dieteman had traffic cases against him in Arizona as early as June 2001, though it wasn't clear whether he was living in the state at the time.

O'Donnell said she met Dieteman once while inside their apartment. He just drank a beer and said nothing.