Gunman among the 5 dead in Phoenix-area shooting

AMANDA LEE MYERS Associated Press Published:

GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) -- The gunman was among five people killed in a Phoenix-area shooting, but police have been hampered in reaching the dead and confirming identities because of possibly hazardous chemicals and munitions discovered at the suburban residence.

Four of the bodies were still inside and outside of the home late Wednesday in the city of Gilbert, southeast of Phoenix.

Police said the shooter was among the dead, and they were trying to determine if he killed himself.

Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Bill Balafas said all the evidence points to the shooting being related to domestic violence. He didn't elaborate. Officers have recovered two handguns and a shotgun.

The shootings occurred after 1 p.m. in a subdivision filled with stucco homes with red-tile roofs.

Witnesses said a SWAT team sealed off part of the area and investigators told residents to remain indoors.

Balafas said two men were dead outside the home and two women were dead inside. A girl between 1 and 2 years old was found inside the home showing signs of life when police initially responded to the scene, but she later died at a local hospital.

Balafas said authorities have not gone into the home since then as they awaited a search warrant and later for a federal agency to remove unknown chemicals and munitions from inside and outside of the home for officer safety. Potentially hazardous materials were in 55-gallon drums in the backyard.

He said positive identifications of the bodies can't be made until detectives can safely enter the home.

About three hours after the shooting, a man walked up to the police tape, pointed to the crime scene and said, "I have a daughter who lives in that house."

Police pulled him behind the tape and out of view. Several seconds later, a loud, anguished cry could be heard. Minutes after, the same man was weeping and left the scene with police.

FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson said federal agents were at the scene "providing personnel and technical assistance" to Gilbert police, but that the police department was the lead agency.

DeAnn Rawson, who has lived in the Lago Estancia neighborhood for 13 years, stood on a street corner and talked to drivers who rolled down their windows to ask what happened.

Rawson, 38, said she was sick to her stomach over what happened. "As you can tell, everyone driving by is absolutely shocked," she told The Arizona Republic.

"I would have come and got her," Rawson said of the youngest victim. "It makes me mad. I can't have children, and you have other people doing things that are insane."

Gary Davis, who also lives in the neighborhood, said, "There's no excuse for taking a child's life."

"Nothing ever happens in this neighborhood," Davis said. "It's a shock to us."

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