Man kills ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend in apparent murder-suicide, Phoenix police say

Loved ones came together on Monday night to remember the victims of a double-murder suicide in Phoenix.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 5:49 AM MST|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 12:50 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Phoenix police believe a man killed two people before turning the gun on himself late Sunday night. The chaos happened near 19th Avenue and Buckeye Road just before midnight. Police said 24-year-old Taffari Celestine drove up from Tucson and confronted his ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Danica Aiken, and her current boyfriend, 38-year-old Eric Sands in the front yard. That’s when the police said Celestine shot and killed Sands. “I heard like this loud scream, crying, asking for help [and then] I heard three gunshots,” said a neighbor who called 911. She wanted to remain anonymous. “After that, I heard the gunshot again. That’s when the other gentleman fell on the ground.”

The 911 caller said she could hear Aiken trying to get away, but she said it seemed like Celestine was forcing her inside. “I heard three more gunshots, and then it was silent,” she said. Police said Celestine shot and killed Aiken inside the home before turning the gun on himself. Officers used a flash bang to try to get the shooter to come out but once they got inside, they found Aiken and Celestine dead.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department also responded to the scene. They took an elk calf away in a carrier but officials said it died a short time later. Police haven’t released how the elk got there.

The elk calf found at the home didn't make it.
The elk calf found at the home didn't make it.(Arizona's Family)

The neighbor said the couple had just moved in about a week ago but she frequently heard fighting outside. “At first I thought they were fighting, maybe knocked him out or something. When I zoomed in more you could see blood all over him. So I was like whoa no, this was not right. This was more than craziness,” she said. An investigation is underway as homicide detectives work to learn more about what happened.

A man took his own life after shooting his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in Phoenix, police said.

Editor’s Note: Police later clarified that they were responding to an initial shooting call just before midnight, not 3 a.m. as earlier reports indicated.