Authorities knew about conflict in home where 92-year-old shot her son
PHOENIX — Authorities had previously responded to multiple calls to the Phoenix-area home where a 92-year-old woman allegedly fatally shot her son this week, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said Thursday.
“Both had expressed a concern that the other party could become violent,” Penzone said during a news conference.
Penzone said 13 unsecured guns were found in the Fountain Hills house where Anna Mae Blessing allegedly shot her 72-year-old son to death Monday.
Blessing owned two of the guns, and she used both in the alleged shooting.
Barbara Blessing, daughter of the victim, told ABC15 her father wanted her grandmother’s guns taken away, but police reportedly said she had a right to keep them.
Penzone said his department is reviewing the incident “to see of some action should have or could have been taken that could have mitigated this.”
“If we failed in any way, shape or form, that is unacceptable,” Penzone said. “But we are not ultimately the ones responsible when an individual decides to take an act of using a firearm or other weapon to take another life. It is that individual’s responsibility, and they own that act.”
The sheriff said there were four or five calls to the house in the past month or so. Deputies were aware there were firearms in the home, but they didn’t know how many until after the shooting.
Penzone said Blessing was being detained in the infirmary of the county jail because of her age, not because of any specific ailment.
According to police, Blessing had been contemplating her son’s intentions of sending her to an assisted living facility. She concealed two pistols in her robe before confronting her son over the matter. She pulled out a handgun, shooting her son multiple times.
Blessing then pointed the weapon at her son’s girlfriend. The two struggled over the gun after it was dislodged from Blessing before she grabbed the second weapon and aimed it at the girlfriend.
Her son’s girlfriend, who was not identified, was able to knock the second gun out of her possession and contacted the sheriff’s department.
Blessing had been living with her son and his girlfriend for about six months, according to court records.
She was charged with one count of first degree murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of kidnapping.
Blessing was in a wheelchair at her initial court appearance Tuesday, where her bond was set at $500,000 and a lawyer was being appointed to represent her.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.