Phoenix man accused of killing estranged wife, 2 children on Christmas pleads not guilty

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A Phoenix man accused of killing his estranged wife and two children before getting into a shootout with police at a central Phoenix apartment complex on Christmas Day is scheduled to be arraigned in court Thursday morning. (Source: MCSO/3TV/CBS 5) A Phoenix man accused of killing his estranged wife and two children before getting into a shootout with police at a central Phoenix apartment complex on Christmas Day is scheduled to be arraigned in court Thursday morning. (Source: MCSO/3TV/CBS 5)
Mug shot of Anthony Milan Ross. (Source: MCSO) Mug shot of Anthony Milan Ross. (Source: MCSO)
He faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault on an officer, among several others. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) He faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault on an officer, among several others. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Phoenix man accused of killing his estranged wife and two children before getting into a shootout with police at a central Phoenix apartment complex on Christmas Day pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned Thursday morning.

Anthony Milan Ross, a vegan chef and motivational speaker, appeared in Maricopa County Superior Count on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault on an officer, among others.

Ross is being held without bail because this is a capital offense, which means prosecutors may ask for the death penalty.

His next scheduled court hearing is a pretrial conference on Feb. 26.

Officers responded to the Highland Apartments near 16th Street and Highland Avenue around 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 25 after reports that Ross shot and killed his estranged wife, 38-year-old Iris Ross, in the front patio area of the apartment complex.

[ORIGINAL STORY: No bond for man accused of killing estranged wife, 2 children and shooting at officers]

Witnesses said Iris was trying to run away from Ross, according to court paperwork.

According to the probable cause for arrest statement, Ross told officers he went through Iris’ pants pockets to find her key fob because he “wanted to move her vehicle so he could leave in his vehicle to an undetermined location.”

[RELATED: Roommate on family killed Christmas day: "I can't even comprehend it"]

After shooting and killing Iris, Ross went into the apartment with his two children inside.

Witnesses reported hearing “two to three more gunshots from inside [his] apartment,” according to court paperwork.

Police attempted to negotiate with Ross who became inconsistent with what he was telling police.

[READ MORE: Theatre mourns loss of young performer killed in Christmas Day tragedy]

Ross changed his story saying his children were alive and he threatened to kill them, according to police.

After the long standoff, officers entered the apartment where they located 10-month-old Anora Ross’ body. When they entered other parts of the apartment, Ross opened fire on the officers.

[MORE: Friend says shooting victim had cordial call with suspect]

A 46-year-old officer with 23 years of service was injured by “either direct or indirect gunfire.” He was taken to the hospital where he has since been released.

Ross was not injured and was eventually taken into custody.

Officers then located 11-year-old Nigel Ross’ body in another room.

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