The suspect in a Christmas Day murder of a woman and two children has been identified as popular vegan chef, author and motivational speaker, Milan Ross. He reportedly suffered from depression but recently got his life on the right track.
According to police, Ross was taken into custody late Monday night after a shoot out with officers after a standoff in a Phoenix, Arizona apartment complex that lasted six hours.
Ross, 45, faces three counts of first-degree murder and more than a dozen counts of aggravated assault on an officer. He was not injured in the standoff with police.
Witnesses reportedly saw his estranged wife, Iris, trying to run away from him before he shot her.
After asking if she was okay, Ross said ‘no’ then proceeded to fire at witnesses before entering his apartment, where bystanders said they heard two or three more gunshots, according to authorities.
On Christmas afternoon Ross shared a heartwarming video of he and his song Nigel, 11, singing ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town.’
Just an hour and a half later, police said the shooting massacre ensued.
The disturbing news has left Ross’ fans in shock, as hundreds of them commented in disbelief on the video, which is still on his page.
Police found Iris’s body outside an apartment in the complex on Monday afternoon, around 4 p.m.
When police went inside the apartment the standoff with Ross began.
Ross, or ‘Milan’ as he is known to his fans, switched to a vegan lifestyle in his 20s, causing him to shed a considerable amount of weight.
He went on to become a chef and began writing and making inspirational videos about his transformation and new lifestyle.
Ross also appeared in a feature-length veganism documentary next to stars like James Cameron and Samuel L. Jackson.
As of Tuesday night, more than 6,200 people followed his Facebook profile, though it appears that number might have gotten slimmer as news about the incident spread.
However, Iris’s sister Mary Wogas revealed Ross was also fighting depression.
‘I received a text yesterday around 2:52 p.m.,’ Wogas told ABC 15, explaining that the messages were sent by her former brother-in-law.
‘Two messages, first one saying “I just killed Iris and the kids. The second message was “with a gun.” I knew that man was very unstable. I knew he had a very, very dark side. I didn’t know it was this dark.’
On Tuesday morning, police gave confirmation that Ross was indeed the father of the two deceased children and that he and Iris were separated.
Upon discovering Iris’s body and approaching Ross, they negotiated with him for several hours during a standoff, in hopes that one or both children were still alive.
Eventually, he admitted that he killed the children, according to Sgt. Jonathan Howard, but not until he’d already change his stories and claimed they were alive and threatened to kill them if police did not leave the home.
Several hours into the standoff the Special Assignments Unit sent a robot into the residence and they found the baby, Anora, dead.
‘Throughout the negotiations, he made comments that he had killed the children. He made some notifications to some family members that he had killed the children,’ Howard said.
At approximately 7:30 p.m., police cut the power off before entering the apartment while returning the suspect’s fire.
Within minutes, they discovered Nigel’s lifeless body in another room.
Howard disclosed that Ross is not an Arizona resident, he was only in Phoenix to visit the children for Christmas. The motive for the killings remains unclear.
During the shoot out, one officer was struck by shrapnel and transported to a local hospital in stable condition.
Court records show Ross and Iris were in the middle of divorce proceedings after Iris submitted the papers in June.
It’s not clear if Ross has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.