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Phoenix Police Suspect 80-Year-Old Man Shot Himself After Killing 80-Year-Old Wife and Two Dogs


A scene outside of a murder-suicide in Phoenix

An octogenarian couple are dead in Phoenix, Ariz. after a tragic murder-suicide over the weekend, according to law enforcement.

According to local Fox affiliate KSAZ, the Phoenix Police Department (PPD) received the 911 call just before 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

The caller is said to have been the alleged murderer, 80-year-old William Potts. He allegedly told dispatchers that he had just shot his wife at their home in the Paradise Foothills neighborhood of northeastern Phoenix–due north of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.

And the sounds on the other end of the line grew ever more grim.

“As operators tried to get information from him, they heard another gunshot,” PPD Sergeant Vincent Cole told the TV station.

Officers arrived to find 80-year-old Susan Potts suffering from gunshot wounds insides the couple’s house. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime. William Pottts was only critically injured when police arrived. The apparent shooter was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Two dead dogs, also shot to death, were found inside the home as well. Police believe William Potts killed all three and then himself.

Details about the incident are currently scarce.

The shooting may have have stemmed from “a domestic violence situation” between the couple, KSAZ reports.

No motive has been publicly floated by law enforcement.

According to independent Phoenix TV station, KTVK, William Potts called the PPD sometime during the “early morning ” hours of the violence and told them that he had recently been experiencing “suicidal thoughts.” It is presently unclear if this was the same conversation during which he admitted to shooting his wife.

Various local media reports have variously placed the site of the shooting at or near two different intersections in north Phoenix–roughly half a mile apart. If the northernmost location is correct, that would place the shooting in the neighborhood of Paradise Valley Village. Those conflicting details may be part of an effort to obscure the exact address of the shooting.

The investigation is said to be ongoing.

Numerous murder-suicides have occurred across the United States over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April of this year, for example, such incidents occurred across several different states.

In early 2020, academic researchers posited that the stress of the pandemic, based on already observed increases in gun sales and intimate partner violence, was likely to lead to a statistically significant increase in murder-suicides.

While a comprehensive study on the gruesome uptick has yet to be completed, the Alliance for Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, sampled data from late March through early April 2020 that suggested murder-suicides related to domestic violence had risen by 100% over the U.S.’s typical yearly average.

If you know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) provides funding for the on-going operation of a 24-hour, national, toll-free telephone hotline. The Hotline can be accessed via the nationwide number 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224 or (206) 518-9361 (Video Phone Only for Deaf Callers). The Hotline provides service referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.    Persons can also contact the Hotline through an email request from the Hotline website.

[image via screengrab/KSAZ]

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