Man who killed wife, daughter showed violent tendencies

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
Michael, Carol and Audra Sanders By Catherine Holland Michael, Carol and Audra Sanders By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The man who killed his wife, daughter and brother-in-law, before killing himself Tuesday evening had a reputation for being intimidating and unpredictable, according to court documents.

Fifty-three-year-old Michael Sanders’ wife, Carol Sanders, 51, filed for divorce and was granted a restraining order in October. That restraining order was upheld at a hearing Tuesday morning.

It appears Carol Sanders was living in fear of her husband.

He reportedly told his family, "It all ends now," during a fight near Lake Pleasant. "We strongly believe he was saying it was a nice day to die," said Carol Sanders. "He told us to get out of the car. He specifically took his gun out of the console and put it in his pocket."

According to court records Michael had a history of losing his temper, throwing groceries and punching holes in the wall. During one fight he threatened to burn the house down while Carol was inside.

The order of protection was extended to 14-year-old Audra Sanders’ school, and Carol’s place of work. It also covered several family members including Carol’s brother Tom Fitzpatrick, who was killed Tuesday while trying to help his sister move some of her belongings.

"I’m sure that he would do anything for his sister and his niece and I don’t think he ever had a chance," said Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Dept. "He was ambushed in his truck in the driveway."

"We understand he may have come back out and shot the brother-in-law a second time even though he’s down, certainly a lot of anger," explained Sgt. Crump.

A court order specified a time for Carol to get access to her North Phoenix home near Tatum Boulevard and Thunderbird Road. Michael was not supposed to be there.

Victim advocates say it’s important for people to know that police escorts are available for situations like that.

"We will come stand by for individuals who have a specific request or need to," said Sgt. Crump. "Certainly we didn’t receive a call here for that yesterday."