Mother, 2 children killed in Christmas standoff in Phoenix

Anthony Milan Ross was charged with killing his ex-wife and two children on Christmas Day in Phoenix Ariz

Anthony Ross was identified as the man accused of murdering two small children and their mother - his estranged wife - on Christmas Day in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Phoenix Police Department responded to reports of a shooting at an upscale apartment complex just before 4pm on Monday, arriving to find a woman dead in the parking lot.

Phoenix police said that the suspect, who has now been taken into custody, got into nearly a seven-hour standoff with police, which led to a police officer being hurt and the gunman also barricaded himself inside the apartment.

The suspect then told police that he'd shot two children inside the home, officers said. That officer was injured "either by direct or indirect gunfire" and was taken to a hospital in stable condition, authorities said. After a brief gunbattle, he was taken into custody. Ross did not appear to be injured. The two children, aged 10 and 11, were also found dead in the apartment. Witnesses told police it was Ross who shot the woman. The identities of the woman and children are being withheld pending family notification.

Ross, who was visiting Phoenix for the holidays, was not hurt, Howard said. Then, officers tracked the suspect to a specific apartment.

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"It's beyond insane", added resident Gibson Daoud told the Arizona Republic. "It's as [expletive] as it can get on Christmas Day". Others returning home weren't allowed in.

The incident was said to have taken place around 3:45 p.m. EST on Christmas afternoon when the woman was shot dead outside the apartment in Phoenix.

As the standoff passed the five-hour mark, about a half-dozen residents clustered outside the QuikTrip across the street.

"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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