By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) – A grandfather angered over a judge’s ruling in a child custody dispute opened fire outside an eastern Arizona courthouse, killing the mother and grandmother of the two children involved in the case, authorities said on Wednesday.
Salomon Diaz, 47, of Snowflake, Arizona, also wounded the children’s aunt during the shooting spree that occurred late on Tuesday afternoon outside an entrance to the Navajo County Superior Court complex in Holbrook, Arizona, following a hearing.
Diaz left the building following the judge’s decision concerning the two children, retrieved a gun and shot the women as they left the building, according to Navajo County Chief Deputy Jim Molesa. Diaz is the paternal grandfather.
“The judge ended up granting visitation to all parties much to the dismay of the suspect,” Molesa said in a phone interview. Diaz was arrested at the scene.
The victims were identified as the children’s mother, Ashley Utley, 25, and maternal grandmother, Sherry Quintero-Davenport, 45. They were each shot multiple times and died at the scene, Molesa said.
Angela Chambers, 68, the children’s aunt, was shot in the leg and treated at a local hospital, authorities said.
Diaz, who had been taking care of the children for an extended period, according to authorities, was booked into county jail on suspicion of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The shootings occurred about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, causing an emergency lockdown of the county complex, officials said. There were no other injuries reported stemming from the incident.
(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bill Rigby)