(Reuters) - A man who killed four members of a neighboring family and their two dogs with a shotgun before taking his own life over the weekend in Arizona may have been sent into a rage by the dogs’ barking, police said on Sunday.
But police said what drove 56-year-old Michael Guzzo of Phoenix to carry out the shooting frenzy may never be known for certain, as both he and his victims, who ranged in age from 17 to 66 and lived next door, were dead before officers arrived.
“It appears he had some issues with barking dogs,” said Phoenix police spokesman Sergeant Tommy Thompson. “If true, it does not justify killing four people.”
Police found the victims slain after responding to a report of gunshots at about 9:15 a.m. on Saturday in a downtown townhouse complex, Thompson said.
Police said they arrived at the rear patio of a townhouse across the courtyard to discover the bodies of two men who had been shot to death, later identified as Bruce Moore, 66, and his son-in-law, Michael Moore, 42.
Inside, they found the younger Moore’s wife, Renee, 36, and her 17-year-old son, Shannon, also dead from gunshot wounds. The family’s two dogs had also been shot to death inside.
Police then entered the townhouse next door, where Guzzo lived, and found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a pump-action shotgun believed to be the murder weapon next to him, Thompson said.
“This was a senseless act of violence that tears at a community,” Thompson said.
Reporting and writing by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler