Police: Valley couple dies in murder-suicide

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- An argument over money issues ended with a man murdering his wife and then turning the gun on himself.

Police have identified Thomas Fernandez, 52, as the shooter, and Debra Fernandez, 46 as the victim.

The couple was discovered by family member around noon at their home near 53rd Avenue and Indian School Road.

Police said the couple lived with two adult children, both women, and the women's five kids, all under the age of 10. Debra Fernandez was their grandmother.

According to investigators, Debra Fernandez was supposed to pick up a relative on Monday. That relative called the house when Fernandez didn’t arrive at the pick-up point. Family inside the home started looking for Fernandez and ended up discovering her body and that of her husband.

“That relative called one of the adult children in the home. She had not seen her mother or her [mother’s] husband leave the room. She then went in to check on them and found both dead inside the room,” explained Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department.

Police believe Thomas shot Debra, before turning the gun on himself Sunday night. According to Martos, the couple had been having a disagreement about money problems.

“We believe the husband murdered his wife,” Martos said.

A family member identifying herself as one of Debra’s daughters told 3TV that there had been no argument. The daughter said the couple had watched a movie with the family and everyone had gone to bed peacefully.

She also said both Thomas and Debra were pastors at a small church.