San Tan Valley woman dies after husband shoots family, self

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
Investigators say Gilbert Ramos shot his wife and two young children before turning the gun on himself. By Catherine Holland Investigators say Gilbert Ramos shot his wife and two young children before turning the gun on himself. By Catherine Holland
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. – Four members of an East Valley family -- a mother, a father and their two young children -- were all shot Tuesday evening, and investigators now believe it was the father who pulled the trigger.

The family was found inside their home near Ironwood (Gantzel) and Ocotillo roads in San Tan Valley. Extended family members had reportedly been calling the family all day and had not spoken to any of them. They got worried and went over to the house. After knocking and not getting any response, they used a key to go inside.

They discovered Gilbert Ramos, 45, and his wife Sandra Thompson-Ramos, 37. Both had been shot in the head, but Thompson-Ramos was still alive. She was air-lifted to a local hospital but died Thursday morning.

Ramos was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ramos and Thompson-Ramos were found in the front of the house while their two children, Nicholas, 10, and Emma, 8, were in another area. A third child, a teenager, was not home at the time of the shooting. Like their parents, Nicholas and Emma also had been shot in the head. Both were dead when emergency crews arrived.

"When our deputies went in there, many of our first responders have young children the same age, and seeing the children in that condition was traumatic to our deputies," said Tim Gaffney of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

The scene was traumatic for the whole neighborhood, which was stunned by the news of the multiple murder-suicide. 

“I'm hoping the 8-year-old is not in my son's class because I don’t know how to explain it to him," said Jason Phillips, a neighbor.

Gaffney said evidence inside the home has led detectives to believe that Ramos shot his wife and children before turning the gun on himself. What investigators don't yet know is why.

“This is absolutely a senseless tragedy," said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu in a news release. "The actions of Gilbert Ramos have devastated family, friends and neighbors in this quiet community. Many of the deputies and detectives who responded to this tragedy have young children the same age as Nicholas and Emma. This is a very difficult situation for all.”