Police identified the suspected gunman and the four members of his family that he killed before turning the weapon on himself as details began to emerge about what took place early Thursday afternoon inside a home that detectives described as a “horrific scene.”
The victims range from the suspected gunman’s 76-year-old mother to his 26-year-old sister-in-law, according to detectives.
Investigators said a family argument over a lingering business dispute erupted in gunfire Thursday afternoon at the home when Driss Diaeddinn, 50, shot his brothers, 56-year-old Dodi Fayed and 38-year-old Reda Diaeddinn, said Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman.
Police said the Driss Diaeddinn’s wife was able to escape the home with his two children after the first two men were shot, allowing the woman time to call 911 at about 2 p.m. Thursday.
Diaeddinn’s mother, 76-year-old Kenza Benzakour, was walking down the stairs after she heard gunfire in the 2,300 square-foot home and Diaeddinn turned the weapon on his mother, killing her, Crump said.
Each of the victims appeared to have been shot multiple times, Crump said.
“It’s obvious that he went through great lengths to make sure each of them were dead,” he said.
Diaeddinn then located his sister in law, 26-year-old Meriem Ben Yahia, in an upstairs bedroom where he shot and killed her as well, Crump said.
By then, officers had started to arrive in the neighborhood of well-kept stucco homes and were preparing to engage in a standoff with the gunman.
A SWAT team used a robot to search the house prior to sending in a dog and officers. Police used a megaphone to try to communicate with the occupants of the home, addressing the family in Arabic.
When police went inside, they found Diaeddinn in an upstairs room with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Crump said.
Investigators found a single weapon inside the home.
The family was involved in several businesses, including a transportation company and restaurants, Crump said, and investigators believe struggles within one or more of those businesses sparked the deadly dispute on Thursday.
Several neighbors described the residents as being “invisible” until Thursday. One neighbor said the family owned a transportation service and, because the HOA allowed only two vehicles in the driveway at any one time, purchased a home in an adjacent neighborhood in order to park their fleet.
SOURCE: The Arizona Republic – Liz Nichols