Mom, 2 Children Killed; US Police Officer Injured in Christmas Day Shootings

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A woman and her two children were killed and a police officer was injured in Christmas Day shootings at a Phoenix apartment complex, police said.

Mom, 2 Children Killed; US Police Officer Injured in Christmas Day Shootings

A man who had a relationship with the woman was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff Monday night after exchanging gunfire with officers, a Phoenix police spokesman said. The man did not appear to be injured.

The woman's body was found outside an apartment at Highland Apartments. The two children, approximately 10 months and 11 years old, were found dead inside, said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, a Phoenix police spokesman. All three were shot, Howard said, USA today reported.

Howard said it's possible all three were killed Monday afternoon, as the man told police negotiators that he had killed the children. However, in hopes that one or both of the children were alive, police allowed negotiations for the man's surrender to continue for hours, Howard said.

Shortly after 10 p.m. MST, it became evident to police that the younger child was dead, and tactical units used an explosion to distract the gunman and enter the apartment. Gunfire rang out. After entering the apartment, police discovered the 11-year-old also had been killed.

Howard said the gunman was from out of town and was in Phoenix visiting for Christmas. Howard said police did not yet know the motive for the killings.

The police officer, who was injured by shrapnel, was taken to a hospital in stable condition, Howard said.

Police characterized the shootings as domestic violence but did not immediately confirm the family relationships.

The shooting occurred at an upscale apartment complex near the Biltmore area in central northeast Phoenix.

After police and fire units responded to the afternoon shooting call, the gunman remained barricaded inside the apartment with the children for more than six hours.

Three loud pops rang out at the complex shortly after 10 p.m.

The man began shooting at the officers when they discovered the children's bodies, Howard said.

Several officers returned fire and the man was taken into custody, Howard said.

For hours, residents and visitors inside the complex were not allowed to leave and those waiting to return to their homes were not allowed in.

Power was cut to the complex about 7:30 p.m., and residents near the apartment were escorted out by police SWAT team members.

As the standoff passed the five-hour mark, about a half-dozen residents clustered outside the QuikTrip across the street. Some wondered whether they should check into a hotel for the night; others wondered about their dogs left locked inside their apartments.

Kristen Alexander, 26, had been sitting in a parking lot since 4:15 p.m. after arriving home from a trip to Ohio.

"I'm terrified of who our neighbors are," said Alexander, who, with her lab, got a police escort back to her apartment.

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