ARIZONA NEWS

Suspect identified in Surprise police standoff case that involved baby shooting and house fire

May 18, 2024, 5:00 PM | Updated: May 21, 2024, 1:01 pm

PHOENIX — Authorities are investigating a house fire that broke out Friday afternoon after an armed standoff with a man accused of shooting a 6-month-old baby.

The suspect has been identified by police as 51-year-old Todd Christopher Marchetti. He was found dead inside of the residence where the standoff and fire took place, according to the Surprise Police Department.

Once it was safe to enter the house, authorities found the remains of Marchetti with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The 6-month-old baby is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital, authorities said.

Before the fire, multiple Valley police departments started negotiating with Marchetti, who had broken in to the residence, according to the Surprise Police Department.

The shooting and subsequent fire took place in a new housing development near Loop 303 and Cactus Road, police said.

Why was Marchetti accused of shooting a 6-month-old baby in Surprise?

Police responded to the scene at around 11:30 a.m. after the child’s mother called 911, according to Sgt. Rick Hernandez, a spokesperson with Surprise PD.

The woman said her child’s father held her and the baby hostage for several hours after he allegedly broke in at around 3 a.m.

She escaped alone and ran to a nearby construction crew, who helped her contact police. She then informed authorities the baby was alone with the suspect.

“She believed the baby was in danger,” Hernandez said. “Officers responded to the residence and, upon arrival, they heard multiple rounds of gunfire coming from inside the residence.”

Police officers didn’t make contact with the baby’s father and they didn’t discharge any weapons. Their sole focus was on rescuing the baby, Hernandez said.

“That baby sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries,” Hernandez said.

However, the injuries are believed to be non-life-threatening, police said.

The mother also had minor injuries. She was treated on the scene before being taken to the hospital to be with her child.

House fire started after armed standoff in West Valley

Police contacted multiple SWAT teams to negotiate with the baby’s father around 2 p.m. on Friday.

SWAT teams with Surprise PD, the Goodyear Police Department and the Peoria Police Department were on the scene.

At the same time, negotiators from Surprise PD, Goodyear PD and the Phoenix Police Department were negotiating with the suspect, Hernandez said.

The house fire started shortly after 3 p.m., police said. The suspect was inside when the fire started.

“Fire crews could not tend to the fire due to the possible threat and sounds of gunfire coming from inside the house,” Surprise police said in a news release.

Eventually, authorities were able to enter the house before discovering Marchetti’s body. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The Buckeye Police Department will lead this investigation, Surprise PD said.

Family friends set up a GoFundMe campaign to encourage the public to help the family financially recover.

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Suspect identified in Surprise police standoff case that involved baby shooting and house fire