Police ID suspect, victims in horrific Phoenix shooting

Posted: Updated:
Phoenix police investigate possible double shooting. (Source: CBS 5 News) Phoenix police investigate possible double shooting. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Old photo of Mike Sanders and his daughter, Audrey. (Source: Sanders' neighbor) Old photo of Mike Sanders and his daughter, Audrey. (Source: Sanders' neighbor)
Carol Sanders (Source: Sanders' neighbor) Carol Sanders (Source: Sanders' neighbor)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)

Mike Sanders left his north Phoenix home in his car, stopped a couple blocks away and then walked back to the house to ambush his estranged wife, teenage daughter and brother-in-law, killing them all before he ran and shot himself to death, police said.

The bodies of Carol Sanders, 51, their 14-year-old daughter, Audrey, and Carol Sanders' 49-year-old brother, Thomas Fitzpatrick, were found Tuesday afternoon, said Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump. Mike Sanders' body was later found a short distance away along a bridle path behind the home.

Carol Sanders had gone to the family's home to gather some personal belongings to set off the horrific chain of events.

Crump said Mike Sanders, 53, is believed to have seen Fitzpatrick in a car in the driveway, shot him and then shot him again after he fell out of the car, Crump said.

Mike Sanders then spotted his wife and daughter in the garage, walked to the garage and closed the door. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots and then saw Mike Sanders run from the garage, Crump said.

Mike Sanders dragged his wife's body into the backyard and set it on fire before killing himself, police said. Her body was so badly burned, police could not determine whether she was shot, though they believe she was, Crump said.

"We found his vehicle at a location a few blocks from here," Crump said. "He left identification in that vehicle, which indicates to us he was coming up here and knew he may not return."

According to court paperwork filed using that address, Carol Sanders filed for divorce and an order of protection less than a month ago.

Neighbors in the area of 51st Street and Thunderbird Road said they heard gunshots ring out around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Crump called the scene "horrifying."

A neighbor, Jeanette Chaira, said Mike Sanders was always polite.

"When I've talked to him he's been very nice and I know he's very attentive to his daughter. He'd come and meet her at the bus and they'd give each other a hug," Chaira said.

Tactical units remained on scene for hours and officers, believing the suspect was inside, deployed gas into the home.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.