PHOENIX — A mother and her child are dead after a man began shooting inside their home Monday night in what police describe as a domestic violence situation.
Police said Louis Mouton III, 34, reportedly went to the home near 83rd Avenue and Thomas Road Monday evening to talk to Lanae Mouton, 32, about their relationship. The two were estranged at the time.
After the conversation, Lanae reportedly went back inside with their 11-month-old daughter, Ava.
Police said a short time later, Louis Mouton kicked in the door and started shooting at Lanae and Ava. Both were struck and taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead, according to police.
Police said Louis remained at the home after the shooting, where he was later arrested.
On Tuesday, police held a press conference to provide updates on the shooting and investigation. You can watch that press conference below.
Lanae lived with her mother-in-law, Ciwilla Mouton. Police say Ciwilla kicked out her own son, Louis, months earlier.
When the domestic violence was unfolding and things were escalating, Ciwilla called her supervisor, Roberto Morales. Both Ciwilla and her daughter-in-law worked as school bus drivers.
"Honestly it broke my heart when she called," said Morales. "The first thing out of her mouth was, 'I’m just calling to let you know that me and Lanae may not be coming to work for a while, a tragedy has happened.'"
But at that point, Roberto said Lanae was still alive. "I guess she had just left the apartment and was out here. And things were still happening," said Morales.
Morales says the 32-year-old mother was a high school bus driver in Buckeye and a loving Mom, whose life revolved around her four young children. "I can’t even find the words to talk about how I feel about the whole situation," he said.
He told ABC15 she constantly had issues with her bus and remembers her working late after a long morning shift last month. "She was there with her hood up on the vehicle trying to get it to go," said Morales.
"I walked over and said, 'You are the true definition of a strong woman. You work hard. You’re sitting here under the hood of your car. Now you got to race home, do what you can with the kids, and make it back for the afternoon.' I was just inspired by her."
Neighbors ABC15 spoke to on Tuesday described an emotional and scary situation and said they were still in shock over what happened.
“She was yelling, 'please no, don’t kill me. Please no,'" said Nancy Montano, a neighbor.
“The guy was yelling, 'I’m going to kill everybody here. I’m going to kill everybody,'" she said. "He was knocking doors. Very violent. And I was very worried, very concerned because I was alone with my daughter."
She then called 911.
“And I just took (out) a knife, and I was in the entrance of my home. Like I was shaking, my body because it was a scary situation,” she said,
She said she heard someone kicking down a door.
“Then I just hear the gunshots like 'pah, pah, pah'...and he was yelling something like the devil told me that I have to kill them,” she said.
She said she hadn't seen the man around for a while, though she wasn't certain why that was.
According to police and court paperwork released Tuesday afternoon, Louis was booked into jail on counts of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. He is being held on a $2 million bond.
He also reportedly has a prior conviction for domestic violence out of California, according to court paperwork.
Louis told police, according to court paperwork, that he suffered from schizophrenia and mentioned spirits and aliens.
Police said he was kicked out of the apartment months ago and was currently living at a halfway house.
He told police that he intended to take his own life, but there were no more cartridges in the gun. He said he did not remember parts of the alleged incident.
Phoenix police tell ABC15 they are continuing to see an alarming and devastating number of domestic violence homicides. Through the first eight months of this year, there have been 23 domestic-related murders, compared to 12 in 2019. There was an even larger spike, to 33, in 2020, during the peak of the lockdowns.
For anyone in a domestic violence situation, the neighbor had this piece of advice: “If you are in a toxic relationship, please look for help. You have to call the police if you feel your life is threatened."
If you are in a domestic violence situation and need help, know someone who does, or are a victim of domestic violence, help is available. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233 (SAFE). Text or online chat options are also available via https://www.thehotline.org.
The City of Phoenix also has a list of resources and advocacy centers at https://www.phoenix.gov.