Murder-suicide suspected in 2 deaths
Teenage pair were found fatally shot on N. Phoenix street
Witness describes shooting scene
Shooting victim's classmate speaks out
By Danika Worthington, D.S. Woodfill and Brenda Carrasco The Republic | azcentral.com Fri Mar 7, 2014 9:09 PM
A 15-year-old boy fatally shot his ex-girlfriend before turning the gun on himself Friday in a north Phoenix neighborhood, authorities say.
Anastasia Greer, 16, was said to have recently ended a romantic relationship with Matthew Bolton, her apparent killer. Bolton and Greer were classmates at Sandra Day O’Connor High School.
Phoenix police were called to a residential block near 40th Drive and Happy Valley Road following reports of gunshots shortly after noon and found the teens’ bodies outside a home where Greer, moments earlier, had been visiting a friend.
Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a Phoenix police spokesman, said a school safety officer worked throughout Friday morning to track down Bolton after his name surfaced in an investigation of a possible safety threat. Principal Lynn Miller sent an e-mail to parents late Friday afternoon informing them of the possible threat, which was reported to school administrators on Thursday.
“The information was that there was a person who had a gun on campus,” Thompson said. “A school safety officer could not get anybody firsthand that said, ‘Yeah, I saw it.’ ...(Bolton’s) name did in fact come up as an individual. The school safety officer then checked with this student’s teachers to find out whether he was there or not.”
The teachers said Bolton wasn’t in class Friday, which was a half-day at the school. The officer eventually called Bolton’s mother, who told the officer her son was at home with his 28-year-old brother, Thompson said.
“It was determined there was no safety threat to our school community” Miller said in the 4:36 p.m. e-mail. “Safety is always a top priority for our campus and the district.”
Police believe Bolton got a ride Friday to the 4000 block of West Villa Linda, where Greer was visiting with a friend. She met Bolton outside.
Henry Gano was driving in the area when he heard a scream. Gano said that as he turned the corner onto Villa Linda Drive, he saw a teenage boy chasing a teenage girl.
Gano said he turned his car around at the end of the small street but, by then, the teens were both dead and neighbors were standing near the bodies.
Jim Friel lives on Villa Linda and left his home to investigate when he heard the gunshots. Across the street were the bodies of a teenage boy with a gunshot wound to his face and a teenage girl with four gunshot wounds to her chest. A weapon lay nearby on the sidewalk.
Tyler Mosley arrived at the scene Friday afternoon with flowers and a card signed by classmates. He said Greer was a friend and fellow member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps at the school.
“She had a real outgoing personality,” he said. “She had a good future.”
Mosley said he was stunned when he heard the news of what happened to his friend.
“Knowing that you’ve met that person and you’ve known that person for a little bit and knowing that they’ve (been killed) in such a brutal way, it’s heart-breaking,” he said. “You don’t really know the person that you’re in a relationship with, I guess, for them to just turn around and do that to you.”
After word spread among students about the incident, some handed out yellow bracelets to attendees of sporting events at the high school on Friday afternoon. Printed in blue on the rubber bracelets were the words “You matter.”
LeAnn Hull spreads the message during every Eagles baseball home game.
Her son, Andy, was a star pitcher until he took his own life in 2012.
“I think that this generation in particular, there’s nobody teaching them about life’s disappointments,” Hull said. “Sadness is a part of life, loss is a part of life, and you have to find ways of coping through that.”
She founded Andy Hull’s Sunshine Foundation to raise suicide awareness through education and outreach. Its mission is “awareness, prevention and encouragement for those contemplating suicide,” per the foundation’s website, andys
LeAnn Hull said she encourages students to consider the people they’d leave behind — alone, like she says she feels when she walks away from the baseball games surrounded by other families going home together.
“Imagine your mom, or whoever is the most special to you, that has to then cope with the fact that you’re not here — your best friend, whoever that might be, ” she said. “But make it real. Make it personal.”