Five family members were found dead inside a Phoenix home Thursday evening after an apparent dispute over the family business burst into gunfire. The discovery brought to a close an hours-long standoff that had a residential street swarming with SWAT team officers and police.
The victims were three brothers, their mother and the spouse of one of the men, ABC reported. Police said a gun was found next to one of the men who had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. All five victims were adults, police said, though their names were not available as of early Friday morning.
The violence began around 2 p.m., when authorities got a call from a woman who lived in the house, Police Sgt. Trent Crump told local NBC affiliate KPNX. The woman had a 3-year-old and an infant with her, she said, and had just fled a shooting inside the home.
“At least at this point, [she] sounds very heroic,” Crump said.
A tactical team was sent to the house, which was reportedly barricaded. The family had origins in Morocco, according to Crump, and police attempted to communicate with them in Arabic using a megaphone.
A second woman emerged from the house about an hour into the standoff, looking stricken and holding her hands above her head in television footage. She had been hiding in the bathroom, Crump said. Speaking with an interpreter, the women said that the gunfire had broken out during an argument over the family business.
Neighbors told the Arizona Republic that the family owned a transportation service and that they parked their fleet at a house they’d bought in a nearby neighborhood. The family had been “invisible” before Thursday, neighbors added.
Eventually, police sent robots equipped with cameras into the house — they discovered five bodies in various parts of the home. TV footage showed several SWAT team officers smashing open a glass door to enter the home.
It’s unclear clear how many people fired shots, but police said they weren’t looking for any outstanding suspects.
Scott Pollack told ABC he lives two doors down from the scene.
“It just blows your mind,” he said. “You just wonder what it takes in a person’s mind to escalate a situation to the point where they will take people’s lives.”