Phoenix Shooting Suspects Took Turns

Dale S. Hausner, one of two arrested in the serial shooter case, is seen during his initial court appearance in Maricopa County court at the jail, Friday, Aug. 4, 2006, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Jack Kurtz, Pool)
AP Photo
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.