Police: Father/son shooting not an accident

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PHOENIX – Police now believe the shooting that left a Phoenix man in critical condition and landed his elderly father in jail was not an accident.

It happened Friday afternoon near 35th and Northern avenues. Detectives originally believed the shooting was an accident, but that is no longer the case.

Joseph Valenta, 79, called the police and told them he had shot an intruder, which turned out to be his son. Investigators said Valenta changed his story when officers questioned him about the shooting, admitting he and his 53-year-old son had been having domestic violence issues.

Like investigators, neighbors originally thought the incident was accidental although they knew there had been conflicts between Valenta and his son.

“They have their issues, but there have never been guns or anything like that,” said Beth Greer. “It’s more Joe will just lock the door and ignore him or they will argue. That’s it.”

Residents of the area said Valenta always looked out for his neighbors.

"Joe is very hard of hearing,” Greer said. “He doesn't have hearing in one ear. He could've heard a noise and thought it was someone breaking in. I don't think he intentionally shot his kid."

While investigators now believe that’s exactly what happened, they have not said anything about what exactly led up to the shooting.

According to police, the son, whose name has not been released, had been living in a car that was parked in Valenta’s driveway. He remains in stable condition at the hospital.

Valenta is in custody and faces one count of aggravated assault.