(Photo: Courtesy Tempe Police Department)
A Christmas party in Arizona turned deadly when a neighbor tried to crash the party. However, when he was asked to leave he went home and later returned to the party dressed in camouflage carrying a gun - he opened fire at partygoers in what is being described as a horrifying incident. Daniel Taylor, 18, was later arrested after a standoff with police and later charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault.
"He was not invited, but he thought he could just come in anyway," Sgt. Michael Pooley said on Monday. "They asked him to leave. He came back about an hour later; this time he was wearing a suit coat, slacks, and a nice shirt."
When partygoers recognized Taylor and asked him to leave, "he came back about 20 minutes later back in camouflage and had a gun." He "reached into the patio area and just started firing rounds, six to eight rounds. Unfortunately, one of those did strike Jeff Ward in the neck" and killed him instantly.
Another woman was hit by a bullet and taken to a hospital; she remained there as of yesterday, but her condition was unknown. Taylor continued walking through the patio, even when police arrived, leading to a standoff. He resisted arrest, and finally the SWAT team was called in to assist with taking Taylor into custody.
Ward's family and friends were left stunned by the news of their 28-year-old friend's death.
"He comes from one of the most loving and giving families I've ever known and this loss has fallen heavy on all of their hearts," Elizabeth Wilson, a friend, told the Bangor Daily News. "I reached out to his friends from Bangor, on behalf of his mother, to tell them of his passing. The overall response was shock."
Ward leaves behind his mother and father, Jim and Debbie Ward, and a sister, Kelly, all of Bangor, Maine. A memorial service is planned for some time next week in Maine; his family has already held a celebration of his life in Arizona.