A food delivery worker was able to snap a picture of her accused killer just before she was murdered in Arizona, police say.
Pamela Rae Martinez, 60, had finished dropping off her last food delivery in Glendale on June 11, the Glendale Police Department said in a June 24 release. Martinez, for an unknown reason, took a photo with her cellphone of a man sitting in a van parked alongside her on the side of a road.
The man, later identified as Rusty French, 62, was taken into custody Thursday, June 23, and faces a second-degree murder charge, police said. French is accused of shooting and killing Martinez, police said.
“Our whole life she’s been a fighter, she’s been so strong, and I told my husband that she solved her own homicide,” Martinez’s daughter, Monique Daniels, told 12 News.
Police found Martinez unconscious in her car at around 7:30 p.m. June 11 near West Bell Road, where her car had driven off the road into a “landscaping area,” police said. She was pronounced dead on scene.
A witness told police they saw Martinez parked on the side of the road with a van parked alongside her, police said. A man was standing outside of Martinez’s car but returned to his van and drove off. Martinez’s car then began to drive off the road.
Police later discovered the photo Martinez had captured on her phone, police said.
“The photograph that she took was of the van that the witness described, and of a man, sitting in his van,” Officer Tiffany Ngalula told 12 News. “Had she not done that, we would not know who her shooter was.”
Though French confirmed to police that it was him in the photograph, he said he “blacked out as to what occurred,” according to police.
Police found handguns in French’s home, including one that matched the gun used in the shooting, police said.
French and Martinez did not know one another, according to police. She was also not delivering food to him.
Glendale is about 10 miles outside of Phoenix.