PHOENIX — Steven Pitt, the forensic psychiatrist who consulted on a number of high-profile cases, including the JonBenet Ramsey murder and the Columbine massacre, was shot dead outside his Phoenix office on Thursday, AZ Central reports. He was 59 years old.
The shooter fled the scene. Police did not comment on a possible motive.
“I could be wrong, but the timing and circumstances sound a lot like someone who was waiting outside his office for him,” Phoenix psychologist David Weinstock told The Arizona Republic in an email. “I suspect this was one who either got out after Steve helped put him away or someone whose case he was working on who felt threatened about what Steve could do.”
Pitt was known for consulting on major cases in the Southwestern U.S. He worked on both the JonBenet Ramsey murder case following her death in 1996 and the Columbine massacre in 1999. Heavy reports he was also an expert for the Eagle County District Attorney’s Office in People v. Kobe Bean Bryant.
Additionally, Pitt was on the Phoenix Police Department’s Baseline Killer Task Force. The killer, Mark Goudeau, killed nine people in the city and was arrested in 2006.
One Phoenix-area lawyer told Arizona’s Family Pitt was incredibly passionate about his work and happy to speak with the media to help keep his community informed.
“He thought it was important that the public understand the nuances and intricacies of the story,” Dan Barr told Arizona’s Family. “He was quite willing and enthusiastic about spending his time doing it, but it was never out of self-promotion.”
A social worker who worked in the same building as Pitt said everyone in the building knew the late psychiatrist.
“It’s such a loss for his professional community, the forensic community, his family … and for me personally,” Bobette Siegel said.
Phoenix police want anyone with information to contact them. Calls can be made anonymously at: 1-800-343-8477.AlertMe