Woman shot in the head in Christmas Day shooting in South Richmond.
Anthony Milan Ross, 45, the woman’s estranged spouse and the father of the children, was taken into custody shortly after 10 p.m. Monday after exchanging fire with officers after a six-hour standoff, Phoenix police said Tuesday. Ross did not appear to be injured.
The woman was shot shortly before 3:45 p.m. Monday, when officers were called to Highland Apartments, 1601 E. Highland Ave. Phoenix police had not yet released the identity of the woman or the children at midday.
The woman’s body was found in a parking lot at the complex Monday.
The two children, a 10-month-old girl and 11-year old boy, later were found dead inside, said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, Phoenix police spokesman. All three were shot, he said.
Police said Ross lived at the apartment complex. Howard said police did not yet know the motive for the killings.
Howard said it’s possible all three were killed in the afternoon, as the man told police negotiators and family members that he had killed the children. During negotiations, he also changed his story and stated that the children were alive and he threatened to kill them. In hopes that one or both of the children were alive, police allowed negotiations for the man’s surrender to continue for hours, Howard said. Then Ross stopped communicating.
Robot enters apartment
Shortly after 10 p.m., the police Special Assignments Unit deployed a robot into the apartment and found that the baby was dead. The man began firing shots and tactical officers entered the apartment as the gunfire rang out. Once inside, police discovered the boy also had been killed.
One police officer, a 46-year-old man with 23 years of service, fired several rounds into a door jamb to distract Ross. That officer was injured “either by direct or indirect gunfire” and was taken to a hospital in stable condition, authorities said.
A second male officer, 34 years old with 11 years of service, fired one shot after entering the apartment. Ross then surrendered and was taken into custody, police said.
As police negotiated, residents waited
The shooting occurred at an upscale apartment complex near the Biltmore area. Tall palm trees stand at the entrance of the complex, which has three-story units.
Residents told The Republic that the shooting occurred in the northeast quadrant of the complex, and that the probable shooter lived in a three-story unit.
“It’s beyond crazy,” resident Gibson Daoud said. “It’s as sh–ty as it can get on Christmas Day.”
For hours, residents and visitors inside the complex were not allowed to leave and those waiting to return to their homes were not allowed in.
Power was cut to the complex about 7:30 p.m., and residents near the gunman’s apartment were escorted out by police SWAT team members.
As the standoff passed the five-hour mark, about a half-dozen residents clustered outside the QuikTrip across the street. Some wondered whether they should check into a hotel for the night; others wondered about their dogs left locked inside their apartments.
Eight people and a black Labrador retriever were escorted by officers to their homes in other areas of the complex shortly after 9:30 p.m. About a half hour later, the standoff ended.
Kristen Alexander, 26, had been sitting in a parking lot since 4:15 p.m. after arriving home from a trip to Ohio.
“I’m terrified of who our neighbors are,” said Alexander, who, with her lab, got a police escort back to her apartment.