Update: The suspected murderer of forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt, DO, fatally shot himself on Monday morning as police closed in on his hotel room, multiple news outlets have reported. It appears that the suspect, Dwight Lamon Jones, targeted individuals connected to his contentious divorce and the custody battle over his son. Dr. Pitt conducted a court-ordered mental health evaluation on Jones during the custody dispute in 2009, azcentral.com reports.
Police say after shooting Dr. Pitt, Jones killed two paralegals who worked in the law firm that represented his ex-wife during the divorce, then shot a psychologist in what may have been a case of mistaken identity. Jones is also the suspect for the shooting deaths of an elderly couple found in their Fountain Hills, Arizona, home on Monday morning. The couple’s link to Jones or the divorce case is unknown. Jones’ ex-wife and son are unharmed.
To learn more, read the full story on azcentral.com. Memorial remembrances of Dr. Pitt are available at fox10phoenix.com and azcentral.com, which noted that Dr. Pitt is survived by two grown sons, Asa and Beau.
Original post from June 4:
Forensic psychiatrist Steven Pitt, DO, 59, was shot and killed outside his Scottsdale, Arizona, office Thursday afternoon, according to multiple news reports citing the Phoenix Police Department. Witnesses reported hearing a loud argument before gunshots commenced.
The day after Dr. Pitt’s death, two Scottsdale paralegals were shot and killed in their workplace, and a Scottsdale psychologist was found shot dead in his office.
On Saturday, the Scottsdale Police Department released a statement that they had concluded that the murder of the paralegals was connected to Dr. Pitt’s death, suggesting that the three, and possibly the felled psychologist, were targeted for their profession, work they had done on a specific case or involvement with a specific individual.
The suspect in the shootings remains at large; police have released a sketch of an individual wanted for questioning related to the shootings.
Dr. Pitt had a highly successful career in forensic investigation. He assisted on several high-profile criminal cases, including the JonBenet Ramsey homicide, the 1999 Columbine high school massacre and Ben Roethlisberger’s civil lawsuit. He frequently appeared as a forensic psychiatric expert on top-tier media outlets including Dateline NBC, CNN and The History Channel.
In a 2016 interview with The DO, Dr. Pitt credited his success with his ability to deconstruct human behavior, which allowed him to better understand a defendant’s actions and thought processes.
“I learned about behavior by visiting crime scenes with detectives and seeing how they analyze the evidence,” Dr. Pitt said. “I’m able to recognize how they put pieces together, which has allowed me to better understand human behavior.”
Noting the dark nature of his work, Dr. Pitt stressed that he prioritized decompressing during his off hours.
“You have to build in real balance,” he said. “For me, that means being in touch with nature and wildlife by spending time in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia or hiking in the Sonoran desert.”
Dr. Pitt was also extremely proud of his DO heritage. In 2016, he ranked being the commencement speaker for the class of 2003 at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, his alma mater, as one of the more memorable experiences of his career.
“It was a really extraordinary experience and something that I always wanted to do,” Dr. Pitt said. “I look at the whole person by virtue of my osteopathic training, so I was deeply honored to have that opportunity.”