After Custody Hearing, Kids' Mother Murdered

In front of many family members
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2016 4:08 PM CDT
Authorities: Man Kills His Grandkids' Mom, Grandma After Custody Hearing
Salomon Diaz   (Uncredited)

A man shot and killed the mother of his grandchildren in front of horrified family members following a custody hearing involving the kids in rural Arizona, authorities said Wednesday. Salomon Diaz is accused of opening fire Tuesday evening outside a courthouse in the town of Holbrook, also killing the woman's mother and injuring the children's aunt, the AP reports. The 47-year-old man was booked on charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Diaz had been taking care of his grandchildren for an extended time, authorities said. His son is the children's father. Authorities declined to describe the relationship between the suspect's son and the children's mother.

The children's mother, 25-year-old Ashley Utley, and their grandmother, 45-year-old Sherry Quintero-Davenport, were killed after encountering Diaz near the entrance of Navajo County Superior Court. Many of the victims' family members were present when the shooting happened, Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon said in a statement. The family and county employees were visibly shaken by what happened, he said. The gunfire prompted authorities to briefly lock down the courthouse as officers swept the building to ensure the safety of the public and workers. A check of Arizona court records showed Diaz was cited for various traffic violations over the years but didn't appear to have any arrests for violent crimes. (Read more shooting stories.)

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