A 45-year-old Phoenix, Arizona man is in police custody after confessing that he fatally shot his family on Christmas.
Anthony Milan Ross, a self-described chef, motivational speaker and author, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday, the New York Daily News reports.
Authorities are piecing together a motive as the days events left three people dead: Ross’ estranged ex-wife, Iris Ross, 38, and the couples children, a 10-month-old daughter named Anora and Nigel, their 11-year-old son. Police are investigating the crime as a domestic violence incident.
According to the Daily News, Ross barricaded himself inside the apartment with the couple’s children before he fatally shot them. Police found Iris’ body outside the apartment after exchanging rounds of gunfire with Ross during a six-hour standoff. One officer was hit by shrapnel, while Ross was taken into custody unharmed.
Just hours before the shooting, Ross posted a video to Facebook, showing him and his son Nigel singing ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and sharing laughter.
Ross gained notoriety after appearing on an ABC 15 news segment where he boasted losing 300 pounds due to a vegan lifestyle. He appeared in a documentary that featured James Cameron and Samuel L. Jackson, where he shared his story.
Iris’ sister, Mary Wogas, spoke with ABC 15 sharing a series of chilling text messages where he confessed to the murders. “I just killed Iris and the kids,” one text read. Moments later, another text came, announcing, “with a gun,” the outlet reports. Wogas claims Ross had a dark side and often made subtle threats to his wife.
Family members told the outlet that Ross suffered from depression after the couples divorce was finalized earlier this year.