Standoff ends with 2 dead; murder-suicide a possibility

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- An early morning shooting that sparked a standoff with police and Maricopa County sheriff's deputies ended with the discovery of two bodies.

"This standoff has come to a tragic end," Deputy Joaquin Enriquez said shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday. "At this point, the investigation now starts to identify the bodies, number one, and number two, to figure out if this is a murder-suicide, a double suicide. We don't have any information. It's preliminary at this point."

It all started at about 5 a.m. when somebody fired shots at a woman who was checking on her son at a home on a county island in the area of Southern Avenue and 65th Drive. She immediately ran back inside her own home and called 911.

Maricopa County sheriff's deputies who responded to that shooting call were fired upon, as well.

"As soon as they went to knock on the door and make announcements that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was there, they received two shots through the door," Enriquez said.

Neither the woman nor the deputies were injured.

Enriquez said more shots were fired as SWAT units arrived on the scene.

Aerial video from the scene showed a large law-enforcement presence at about 6:15 a.m. Officers and deputies had set up a perimeter extending a couple of blocks around the home.

Three neighboring homes were evacuated as a precaution. Enriquez said officers implemented a Reverse 911 call to warn other area residents that an armed suspect might be in neighborhood.

"We told everybody [to] stay in their houses. This is an evolving situation," Enriquez said.

The woman told deputies that her 41-year-old son and his girlfriend live in the house behind hers, but she did not say what prompted her to go check on them. Because she could not see inside the house, it's not clear if either the son or the girlfriend was the shooter. 

SWAT team members went into the home after attempts to contact the shooter were met with silence. That's when they discovered the bodies of a man and a woman.

"We have not ID'd anybody," Enriquez said. "We don't know if it's the actual son of the original homeowner."

Detectives will be on the scene throughout the morning, trying to piece together exactly what happened in the home.