Surprise shooting: Gunfire at home leaves 3 men dead, including the suspect
SURPRISE, Ariz. - Surprise Police say three people are dead, including the suspect, and several others are seriously injured following a shooting at a home.
The incident, according to police, happened at a home near Grand Avenue and Reems Road. The incident began as some sort of fight that happened just after 10 p.m. on July 3, with it ending in a shooting.
Gunfire broke out at the home and a woman who lives in the area said she heard the gunshots, and initially thought they could be fireworks, investigators say.
"I heard what I thought were fireworks going off in someone’s backyard off the street, and then I started hearing voices. Maybe it was just a party or something. I came to the front of the house, there were all these people milling about. I didn’t know what was going on. There was crying and kind of wailing," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.
Police say three people died, four are injured and others were hurt but are expected to be OK.
Those who died are Carl Dinora, 38; Conrradito Ochoa Navarro, 41; and the suspect, Jason Hunt, 46.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Surprise Police at 623-222-4000, or 623-222-TIPS (8477). You can also email CrimeTips@surpriseaz.gov.
Police release more information
"According to witnesses, evidence, and facts gathered at the scene, detectives have determined that Jason Hunt was the first person to fire a weapon. In addition, detectives have discovered that multiple shots were fired by other individuals in attendance. All weapons recovered from the residence have been identified as handguns. The facts of the investigation show that Jason Hunt, a resident of the neighborhood, had been invited to the residence by the homeowner. While in the residence, Jason Hunt pulled out a gun and began to fire. The motive remains unknown and the focus of this investigation," police said on July 5.
Six days later, police provided more information on what they're calling a complex case.
Initially, investigators weren't confident in calling Hunt the suspect, but have since named him the suspect, and said others were acting in self-defense.
"Detectives from the Surprise Police Department have learned Jason Hunt, a resident of the neighborhood, came to the victim’s residence while the victims and guests were gathered outside in front of the home. Jason engaged in small talk with several guests. At about the same time or a short time thereafter, those in attendance migrated inside the home to eat, with Jason following. Jason was given a plate of food and sat down inside the residence. A few moments later, Jason stood up from where he was seated, pulled out a handgun, and began shooting at numerous individuals. Jason Hunt was shot and killed by one of the injured parties involved," the department said.
In a Ring doorbell video shared by a neighbor, you hear at least six pops. Meanwhile, neighbors are wondering how this transpired in what they call a peaceful neighborhood.
"Surprised to see this in our neighborhood," a resident said. "It's ridiculous."
Suspect served in Army
On his Instagram account, Hunt claimed he was in the U.S. Army, and worked as a recruiter in Surprise. His posts show firearms, as well as a selfie with a shirt that reads "Master of Disaster."
According to a spokesperson with the U.S. Army, Hunt served in the Army for 13 years.
The person who shot Hunt, police say, was acting in self-defense and called Hunt's actions unprovoked.
"Jason Hunt’s motive is still unknown," police say.
‘A lot of people are hurting’
Ruth Gonzalez and Conrad Ochoa Navarro
FOX 10 is learning more about two of the men who died in the shooting – Carl and Conrradito, also known as Conrad.
Conrad's wife, Ruth Gonzalez, says she watched the tragedy unfold right in front of her.
"He quietly just got up and started shooting. He didn't say anything at all," Gonzalez said. She says the initial shooter was at the party for around 15 minutes before he got up and opened fire.
She ran outside and hid for safety and eventually found her kids at the neighborhood park.
"Asking me where's their dad, 'where's my dad?' And then I just hugged them tight and said, 'I don't know where's your dad, I haven't seen your dad,'" Gonzalez said.
Surprise PD told FOX 10 that a "clash" between party goers resulted in gunfire, but Gonzalez says that's just not the truth.
But ultimately, two husbands and fathers are gone.
"He was the love of my life. He was … put it this way … a lot of people are hurting because he was one of a kind. Like, he was a good friend, a good husband, a good everything. He touched so many hearts," Gonzalez said.
Yami Dinora remembers her soulmate, Carl, who leaves her and their two daughters behind.
She shared this statement, it reads in part, "He was so happy with us and talked about our future constantly like imagining his future grandbabies. He had the most contagious laugh and befriended anyone he came across. He was a remarkable man and will be unforgettable," Dinora said.
Victim speaks out
On Aug. 18, over a month after the shooting, one of the victims in the shooting spoke out for the first time.
Raul Mendez was shot in the head as a result of the shooting. He lost an eye, half of his face is numb, and his hearing is damaged. However, he said he is grateful to be alive, and also said all that matters is that he protected his family.
At the time of the shooting, Mendez was enjoying a party at his friend's house. Mendez noticed someone in the neighborhood let himself into the gathering, and at first, his friend was polite about it.
"Just being a friendly neighbor, friendly host, he just invited him, like, ‘Hey! would you like some food? Would you like some drink?’" Mendez recounted.
Shortly after arriving, Hunt pulled out a handgun, and started shooting. Mendez turned around when he heard a gunshot.
"Shot me right here in the side, right near my ear," Mendez recounted. "The bullet just shattered my jaw, eye socket and nose, and actually came out my left eye."
As people ran for safety, Mendez's wife rushed to him.
"She just thought, like, ‘you know what? My husband is dead,'" said Mendez.
Mendez's wife then found their two daughters, and hid in a closet as the shooting continued.
"Did you ever think you would be put in this situation?" Mendez was asked.
"I never thought, but of course, I am always prepared," Mendez replied.
Mendez said two women fought Hunt off in the master bedroom. One of them was shot, but will survive. Meanwhile, Mendez said adrenaline helped him get up and grab his own gun.
"Just as he's trying to pull out his other firearm, that's when I stopped the threat right then and there," said Mendez.
Mendez said he has carried a concealed weapon for years.
"You never know when I have to go out of my way to protect my family, my loved ones, or even a fellow innocent citizen," said Mendez.
Mendez has expressed his frustration with the timeline of the investigation, in that it took a week for police to publicly identify Hunt as the suspect. Investigators, initially, also said a "clash" between partygoers led to gunfire.
"Why couldn't they get their story and their facts straight at the beginning, when multiple – I'm talking about multiple witnesses – told them exactly what happened?" Mendez said.
We have requested records related to this incident from Surprise Police, including body camera footage and 911 calls.
(Click here for Raul Mendez's GoFundMe)
(Click here for Carl Dinora's GoFundMe)
(Click here for Conrad Ochoa's GoFundMe)
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