Surprise police give updates on domestic violence case involving shooting of baby, house fire

May 20, 2024, 6:08 PM | Updated: May 21, 2024, 9:49 am

PHOENIX — Authorities shared new details on Monday about a complex domestic violence case in Surprise that involved a shooting of a 7-month-old baby and a house fire last week.

Todd Christopher Marchetti, 51, terrorized the mother of his baby, as well as their 7-month-old child, on May 17, 2024, according to the Surprise Police Department.

The mother, who was identified as Allie during a Monday news conference, tried to leave him and escape the cycle of domestic violence, police said.

She and her baby were alone in her parents’ home in Surprise when Marchetti broke in around 3 a.m., police said.

Marchetti entered through a window, armed with a machete, Surprise PD spokesman Sgt. Rick Hernandez said during a Monday news conference.

“He intended to cause her harm while her family was away on vacation,” Hernandez said.

What followed was an hourslong hostage situation in which he shot her family’s dog and made Allie fear for her son’s safety, police said.

Allie eventually escaped and found a nearby construction crew. One of the workers let her borrow a cell phone, which she used to contact authorities, police said. She immediately told police she was afraid her son was in danger.

How is the baby in Surprise domestic violence case doing?

When officers responded to the scene, they heard gunshots coming from inside the house. Body cam footage shared in the Monday press conference shows officers breaking in and looking around for the 7-month-old baby, who is named Jaxson.

Police didn’t make contact with Marchetti when they initially entered. The footage showed several officers and a K-9 searching throughout the house before they found Jaxson and immediately left the house with him.

Jaxson had multiple injuries on the bottom half of his body, including his limbs, Hernandez said.

He said it isn’t certain how much time passed between Marchetti shooting Jaxson and police arriving to rescue the baby.

However, he said officers arrived just in time to rescue Jaxson.

Surprise Fire Chief Brenden Espie said that as police left the home, they handed him to a medic who started initiating care.

“While initiating care, this medic found the assigned treatment crew and coordinated the transfer of care,” Espie said.

The crew used advanced medical techniques to stabilize him so he would be ready to be airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, he added.

“Some of the things that our medics did for Jaxson were a chest seal placed on his abdominal area, direct pressure applied to extremities to control bleeding and medication therapy that was initiated before Jaxson was airlifted,” Espie said.

As of Monday morning, Jaxson has undergone three operations. They’ve all gone well, which gives his family hope, authorities said.

How did the mother escape the hostage situation to find help?

After Marchetti wounded her family’s pet, Allie asked him to go to a veterinarian, police said. She hoped that leaving the residence would give her an opportunity to escape.

That didn’t happen, Hernandez said. Marchetti allegedly claimed the dog was a stray hit by a car and gave personnel a fake name and a fake phone number.

The dog had to be euthanized due to the severity of the injuries, Hernandez said. The trip to the veterinarian took place in the early morning, he added.

After they returned to the residence, Allie then appealed to Marchetti’s self-interest by saying she could find someone to fix the window he had damaged when he invaded the home, police said.

“She said, ‘I can go get workers who can fix this and then nobody will know what you have done’ and she was able to go out that window, seek help,” Hernandez said. “I think she, by doing so, was able to save not only her life, but Jaxson’s life.”

Did police interact with the suspect after rescuing the baby?

Negotiators tried to make contact with Marchetti several times after rescuing Jaxson from the residence, Hernandez said. However, he allegedly refused to leave and fired gunshots.

“There was never any positive contact, via telephone, we did see movement,” he said. “Throughout the time when he was refusing to exit the residence peacefully, we were hearing gunfire, and that included when the house was on fire. We were still hearing gunfire.”

That fire broke out around Friday afternoon. Once the fire was out and it was safe to enter, authorities found Marchetti’s remains. He appeared to have a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said.

The fire completely destroyed the home, authorities said.

Those who want to help the family rebuild can donate through a GoFundMe campaign.

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Surprise police give updates on domestic violence case involving shooting of baby, house fire