MESA, Ariz. - On the eve of Thanksgiving, a Mesa family is torn apart after a murder-suicide incident that began as a domestic fight.
According to Mesa Police, the incident happened near Main Street and Gilbert Road on Nov. 21. An investigation revealed that the shooting happened after an argument at the residence between the suspect, 49-year-old Ronald Makison and his 45-year-old wife, Rebecca Vanderwall. The argument was reportedly over a home repair project.
On Nov. 25, FOX 10's Justin Lum spoke with the couple's son, Andrew Makinson, who witnessed the tragic night unfold.
"It had never gotten this bad before," said Andrew, who said his mother's and father's arguments mostly consisted of yelling, and were never violent.
Andrew, along with his wife and his friend, were at the home, but never expected what happened next. As the dispute moved into the master bedroom, Andrew says his sister Melanie tried to defend her mom.
Then, he heard two gunshots
"I had just got to the doorway when I heard the third went off, and I saw the gun drop, saw my father drop, and I looked down and I saw my sister on the ground bleeding, and I immediately got down and tried to stop the blood," said Andrew.
Andrew found his mother shot to death in the bathroom. He said his 20-year-old sister was bleeding from the mouth, with the bullet going through her cheek. There are also fragments lodged near her spine. After going through surgery to reconstruct her jaw, Melanie is now stable. She is traumatized, however, realizing her mom is gone.
"She'd make sure that everything was alright. You could go to her for anything. She touched so many lives, and she was always out to help people," said Andrew.
Police found a handgun near Ronald during the investigation. Meanwhile, Andrew is confused and heartbroken. He says his dad was a good man -- when he was sober. Ronald was reportedly not sober that night.
"Alcohol just changed him," said Andrew.
Rebecca's birthday was coming up on Christmas Eve. For her loved ones, this holiday season will be a dark one.
"Every chance you get, just tell your family that you love them. If you haven't called your mom, call your mom. Let her know you love her," said Andrew.
Melanie reportedly needs another surgery down the road to remove bullet fragments, and her recovery could take months. An investigation into the tragic shooting remains ongoing.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line)
CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.