A Scottsdale man has been arrested on suspicion of killing 47-year-old Danita Hunter in the backyard of her Chandler home on the evening of Aug. 29.
Nozre Ware, 22, is facing first-degree murder charges after he allegedly ambushed Hunter and her 22-year-old son outside the family’s home in the 4800 block of West Flint Street.
According to Chandler Police, Ware snuck up on the family at about 10:30 p.m. and opened fire while Hunter and her son sat on their back porch.
The son fled from the backyard as gunfire started to ring out -- not realizing one of the bullets had struck him. He ran to a neighbor’s home for help and called the police.
Once officers arrived at the scene, they discovered Hunter unresponsive and stricken with a gunshot wound. Her son survived his injuries.
Authorities put out rewards for information on Hunter’s killer and eventually came across a promising lead after discovering a similar criminal case in a nearby city.
Chandler investigators noticed the bullet shell casings retrieved from Hunter’s backyard were similar to ones found at the scene of a separate shooting incident.
A possible suspect in the latter case was identified as Ware, who happened to be a former associate of Hunter’s son and had visited the family’s home in the past. The connection led Chandler Police to zero in on Ware and arrest him on Nov. 2.
Det. Zachary Waters declined to elaborate on the relationship between Ware and the surviving victim nor did he offer any type of motive Ware may have had.
Ware is believed to have been assisted by an accomplice who drove the getaway car after the suspect allegedly killed Hunter.
Video surveillance shows the suspect getting picked up in a silver Chevrolet Camaro down the street from Hunter’s residence shortly after the shooting.
Waters said Ware is currently the only suspect in the case who’s been criminally charged.
At the time of his arrest, Ware allegedly declined to answer questions about Hunter’s death. Chandler’s detectives later uncovered clothing in Ware’s Scottsdale residence that matched apparel worn by the suspect captured in video surveillance footage.
Hunter’s violent death came as a shock to friends and family members who knew her as a peaceful, caring individual.
Clottee Hammons, grandmother to Hunter’s son, described the victim as a loving person who was active in the Chandler community.
“She was a devoted parent to three young men, a loving daughter and sister, a kind and generous friend and valued community member,” Hammons wrote in a statement.
At the time of the August shooting, Ware was wanted in court for criminal charges filed against him earlier this year. The defendant had been accused of trespassing, criminal damage, and disobeying an officer on April 14.
A couple days after Hunter’s death, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge issued a warrant for Ware’s arrest after he failed to show up for a court appearance.