PHOENIX – Iris Ross was a very cordial conversation with her estranged husband on christmas day of the year before she left to pick up their two children in his apartment in Phoenix, a friend said Wednesday.
It was the last time Pam Alexander saw her friend in life.
Ross and the children were later shot by her estranged husband, Anthony Milan Ross, the police say.
Alexander, whose daughter was a roommate of Iris Ross, said they all three had to prepare the house for more than 20 people for a christmas dinner that the children were supposed to attend.
“There was nothing that would indicate that at that time a kind of conflict that had arisen,” Alexander said. “When he called her later and she left the house a bit for 3 hours, Soon after that, everything just went to hell.”
Anthony Ross was being held Wednesday without bail on three counts of first-degree murder and other charges. It was not clear whether he had a lawyer.
The shooting came just hours after Anthony Ross posted a video on Facebook in which he and his 11-year-old son, Nigel, to see you laughing and singing, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”
Both parents have to agree Nigel, and their 10-month-old daughter, Anora, have to stay a few hours longer with their father, because the baby was fighting a cold, Alexander said.
Alexander met Iris Ross and her children for the first time after his arrival for a visit to her daughter last week. She said it was beyond surreal to go play with the kids christmas Eve with the help of the family with a GoFundMe page to raise money for three funerals.
“You just can’t wrap your head around things like this,” she said.
Alexander and her daughter immediately drove to Ross’ apartment complex after they heard about the shooting. Police were already there following reports of gunfire.
The police found Iris Ross’ body on a patio of the building. Witnesses said Anthony Ross went through her pockets when she approached him. Court records say he pointed a gun in their direction then barricaded himself in his house.
After several hours, police used a robot to the unit, and determined that the baby was dead. Police say Ross started shooting at the officers for a SWAT team entered and exchanged gunfire.
Ross was taken into custody without injury. The boy was found dead in another room.
The police have no motive for the shooting, which is being investigated as a domestic violence incident.
An advocate of vegetarian eating, Anthony Ross wrote cookbooks and often talked about how he lost half his body weight with his healthy lifestyle. He spoke about the topic on TV, often crediting his weight loss to the strengthening of his relationship with his son.
“He looks at me as his hero now,” Ross told the national lifestyle show “The List” in August of an episode.