PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Police have arrested an ex-husband in connection to the shooting death of a woman who was loading her kids into a car in a Phoenix parking lot.
Phoenix police say 40-year-old Josiah English III was arrested for the murder of his ex-wife, 35-year-old Blanca Gutierrez-Calzoncit.
Investigators say Gutierrez-Calzoncit was loading her two children into a car in a parking lot near 35th Street and Greenway when she was shot and killed on the morning of January 31.
The two children, ages three and four, were not injured during the shooting. English was located later that day and was arrested.
According to prosecutors, the victim was a single mother, hiding from an abusive ex-husband, and court records show Gutierrez-Calzoncit was trying to move with her kids to Mexico, for their safety.
Prosecutors argued before a judge on Wednesday to keep Josiah English behind bars, saying he fired nearly a dozen hot at his ex-wife, with the bullets coming within feet of the two children.
According to court records, Gutierrez-Calzoncit claimed she was physically, emotionally, and financially abused by English, and English was reportedly fighting the move by Gutierrez-Calzoncit to move with her kids to Mexico. In a letter to the court, English said his ex-wife was :evil", and "wanted to destroy his relationship with their kids".
Friends of Gutierrez-Calzoncit described her as a beautiful, loving mother.
"A hard worker who was determined to make a good living to support her kids well," said a person named Harvey. That person went on to say that Gutierrez-Calzoncit was very guarded about her past, but did warn her friends of her ex-husband.
"We knew that there were struggles," said Harvey. "She was under protective custody. She cautioned us to be careful. She did not want to be found."
The sister of Gutierrez-Calzoncit said she is desperate to get the children from the authorities. Landy Gutierrez said she is not sure what to say to her niece and nephew, but she knows despite the pain, she has to remain strong.
"The only friend that I have was my sister," said Gutierrez. "I just want to take care of the kids."
English has been booked into jail and faces first-degree murder and aggravated assault charges. A court appointed adviser had expressed concern that English may suffer from mental health or substance abuse problems.
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