It happened on Saturday afternoon, near 59th Avenue and Thomas Road in Phoenix.
Police say the suspect first burglarized a home down the street but when the family came home he ran away to a neighbor's home.
"To me it didn't seem like an impulsive rob," said one of the victims. "They went through the ceiling. They broke down a vent and came through there and with that opened the back door and from there started taking our stuff."
The suspect managed to hide in the attic. Police say the family was home, heard him and called 911.
Neighbors tell ABC15 that there were shots fired between the suspect and police.
Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson says then the burglar tried to set the home on fire, hoping to divert attention away so he could escape. However, he wasn't able to make it out alive.
The home, where the fire started, is a total loss.
Neighbors say the family had lived here for over 10 years and don't have homeowners insurance.