Phoenix police identify mother, son killed in suspected murder-suicide

Neighbors say the son was close to graduating high school. Police say the mom tried to take her own life, but she survived trapped in the apartment.
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 2:53 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2022 at 5:03 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Police have identified a woman and her teenage son who died following an apparent murder-suicide at a north Phoenix apartment. Christina Marie Watson, 37, allegedly shot and killed her 17-year-old son, Gunther Saline, before turning the gun on herself earlier this week.

On Wednesday, around 9:30 a.m., officers were called to check an apartment near 23rd Avenue and Rose Garden Lane. Inside an apartment, they found a teen boy, later identified as Saline, who had been shot to death. Officers also found Watson, and she was taken to the hospital in critical condition. She later died.

Officials confirmed on Friday Saline was a student at Boulder Creek High School. The school released a statement.

The people who live in this complex say they never saw this coming. “She just had that sort of glow in her eyes that just lets you know that someone has a good heart. Not the kind of people that you would ever, ever, ever, expect,” a neighbor told Arizona’s Family.

The community is shocked over what happened behind closed doors in the apartment. “Nothing about them was off in any way. A very sweet lady and her son was very polite,” said one neighbor who did not want to appear on camera.

Neighbors began to see emergency responders arrive at the apartment. “As the day went on, we saw a hazardous material truck coming. Two crime scene investigators, the mobile command center. And I’m like okay this is something big going on,” said Shannon, another neighbor.

Police say Watson was wounded in the apartment for several days, and officers made the disturbing discovery. “It’s honestly just heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking,” another next-door neighbor said. She says all the residents in the building feel like extended family, and the news is hard to accept. “We all know each other and have been here long enough that it feels that way, that we know each other,” she explained.

Other neighbors found out through a note from the property manager. “Crime is something you expect in a metropolitan area. There had been a shooting between what they believed to be known persons. But that’s all it said,” Shannon said.

It’s not clear when the shooting took place. Investigators say it may have been days between when the shots were fired and when the two were found. Homicide detectives are investigating what led up to the shooting.