Tolleson police investigate apparent double murder-suicide

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by azfamily.com

Video reported by Kristine Harrington

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 3 at 10:35 AM

Map: 93rd Avenue and Jefferson

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TOLLESON, Ariz. -- Police are investigating an apparent double murder-suicide after a man and his two young daughters were found dead inside their Tolleson home.

Tolleson Police Sgt. Obed Gaytan says the girls, ages 6 and 8, were shot. Police identified the father as 45-year-old Alejandro Gallardo and said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

It's not clear when the girls were shot, but police were called to the home in the area of 93rd Avenue and Jefferson Street about 10 a.m. New Year's Day.

According to police, a family member found the three bodies inside the rental house. The relative was crying and screaming in the front yard before police arrived on scene. It's not clear how that person is related to the victims.

Neighbors reported hearing multiple shots fired overnight but believed the gunfire was celebratory for the New Year's holiday.

"How could you think that it would be that," neighbor Cynthia Echeverria said. "I didn't. It didn't even register with me."

Police confirmed receiving several reports of shots fired but none specific to the home.

 "All night last night there were gunshots ringing out all over the city because of the new year and people disobeying Shannon's Law," Gaytan said.

Neighbors also told 3TV's Kristine Harrington that the couple who lives in the home often argued, but never in front of friends. Police have not commented on that.

"This is not the first time we've heard yelling from that house," Echeverria said.

Police have not yet released the names of the girls or identified a motive.

"We've established some of the what, the when, the where, but we have to establish the why," Gaytan said.

The investigation is ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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