Man arrested in Berks County suspected of killing church custodian in Arizona

Gustin Ray Woodman, left, shot and killed Mark Woodruff, right, during a robbery attempt in the driveway of Woodruff's home in Glendale, Arizona, on June 24, police said.

A man arrested in Berks County stands accused of fatally shooting a man near Phoenix.

Gustin Ray Woodman, 24, of Glendale, is facing a first degree murder charge in the death of Mark Woodruff during a robbery attempt in Glendale, Arizona, in June, police said.

Woodman, who was arrested in the robbery of a man on the parking lot of the Walmart store in Muhlenberg Township on Sept. 1, is in the Berks County Jail, awaiting extradition to Arizona, authorities said Thursday.

Woodman's apprehension came a short time after he fled the Walmart in a vehicle with his girlfriend, who lives in Berks County, according to Muhlenberg police. The pair, identified through the store's surveillance video, were later arrested in Reading.

Evidence found in the couple's vehicle, police said, connected Woodman to the homicide in Arizona.

"Due to the diligence and hard work of the uniformed and civilian personnel who work for the Glendale Police Department, we now have an opportunity to seek justice for Mark Woodruff and his family," said Detective Eric Holmstedt, Glendale Police Department, who thanked other law enforcement agencies, including the Muhlenberg Township Police Department, for their assistance in the case.

Woodruff, 72, was found shot inside his car in the driveway of his home in the 4400 block of West Maryland Avenue in Glendale on June 24. The victim, who worked as a night custodian at a church in Phoenix, later died.

"Mark Woodruff was the type of person who always sought to understand and look for the best in others," the victim's family said in a statement released by Glendale police on Thursday. "That anyone would choose to destroy his life is unfathomably senseless. His murder will haunt and grieve us for the rest of our lives."

Woodman was pulled over for a traffic violation two days after the killing and was in possession of a handgun that was seized, said police, who added that tests later tied the gun to the fatal shooting. Woodman had already been released by the court, police said.

"We are thankful for the tenacious investigative work by the Glendale Police Department, especially Detective Eric Holmstedt," Woodruff's family said. "We are hopeful that the justice system will work effectively and conclusively."

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