Laveen domestic violence stabbing case: suspect and his wife dead, grandmother injured

A man and woman are dead in an apparent domestic violence stabbing case that escalated into a shooting involving officers in Laveen.

According to police, officers responded just before 6 p.m. on March 6 to domestic violence-related calls in a neighborhood near 43rd Avenue and Alta Vista Road. Once at the scene, officers found an injured elderly woman in front of a house. She was safely removed from the area by police.

Another woman, identified as Monica Castro, 40, was then seen near the doorway of the home with what appeared to be stab wounds. 

"She was on the ground in a kneeling position, covered in blood, suffering from obvious signs of trauma," stated police.

The woman's husband, identified as Anthony Castro, 40, was kneeling behind her with a knife in each hand.

Witnesses tell FOX 10 that police gave the suspect multiple commands to drop the knives before they opened fire, killing him. 

"The suspect continued to hide his body behind Monica, while stabbing her with the knives. An officer discharged his firearm, fatally striking Anthony," stated police.

The elderly woman who was injured is the suspect's grandmother. She was taken to a hospital and released after treatment. Police did not identify her by name.

The suspect's wife was hospitalized in extremely critical condition. On March 7, police said she died at the hospital.

The Castro's three children, all between the ages of 9 and 14, were in the home, but were not hurt. They reportedly went door-to-door asking neighbors for help before police arrived at the scene.

No officers were hurt during the incident.

The neighbor directly across the street from Monica and Anthony, a friend of Monica’s, says the worst part about this is that three young children now grow up without any parents.

"It was just so awful. She was a good friend. I loved her and I love her kids, and now, she’s gone. She can’t deserve it. Why a man would do that to a girl’s mom? Why? Why can you do that to a girl’s mom for?"

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report. 

‘Somebody got shot by the cops’

Residents in the neighborhood they describe as quiet were stunned by the police presence.

"I heard about three ‘pop, pop, pop,’ that's all. I don't know if it was 4 or 3, but I heard 3," said Manuel Herrera.

"I didn't see what happened, but I saw all the cop cars going by, so I said well I'm going to go see what's going on," Mark Bernstein said. "Somebody got shot by the cops."

Police cruisers lined the neighborhood.

"I saw 35 cop cars going southbound on 43rd Avenue coming down from Southern and there's a lot of people going by," Bernstein said.

Herrera seconds that.

"There was two police there and then a few minutes ago they came a lot, maybe like 30 police cars," he said.

This incident, of course, is leaving residents concerned for their safety.

"I'm scared. I'm scared for my kids," Herrera said. "I have a grandson. Sometimes he's playing there outside, and I was thinking about that. A lot of people around, bad people, so I worry about them."

Body cam released from the incident was released by the department on March 20.

Map of the crime scene area:

Recent police shootings in Phoenix

This incident happened almost 24 hours following another police shooting in Phoenix. In that incident, which happened near 43rd Avenue and Encanto Boulevard, the suspect allegedly pulled out a gun during a struggle with officers.

The suspect in that case, since identified as 42-year-old James Saucedo, was pronounced dead at the scene.

In another incident, a Phoenix Police officer shot at a shoplifting suspect at a Walmart in Laveen while they were "working in an off-duty capacity in full uniform," according to Phoenix Police Sergeant Phil Krynsky.

According to a statement, the suspect in that incident, identified as 35-year-old David Apana, was trying to conceal items inside the store. Investigators say the bullets didn't strike the suspect. The suspect then ran out of the store and into a nearby neighborhood. Apana was later arrested.

Image 1 of 4