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Gunman, victims identified in Phoenix quadruple murder-suicide

The suspected gunman, 50-year-old Driss Diaeddinn, shot four members of his family multiple times before shooting himself in the head, investigators say.

By Doug G. Ware

PHOENIX, April 17 (UPI) -- A dispute among family members who owned a limousine service in Phoenix escalated into a violent confrontation and ended with the deaths of five people, authorities said Friday.

The deaths of three men and two women were discovered by Phoenix police on Thursday after a protracted standoff between a man with a gun and a SWAT team. Friday, investigators identified the gunman as 50-year-old Driss Diaeddinn -- and his victims as Reda Diaeddinn, 38, Dodi Fayed, 56, Kenza Benzakour, 76, and Meriem Ben Yahia, 26.

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Officials suspected Thursday that a business dispute may have triggered the violence, after speaking to witnesses in the neighborhood and two women who escaped from the home unharmed. Diaeddinn shot two of his brothers, his mother and one of his brother's wives, police said.

Diaeddinn's wife escaped from the home's rear entrance when the gunfire started, authorities say, carrying her a 3-year-old toddler and a 10-month-old infant -- neither of whom were injured. Another woman escaped from the house about an hour into the standoff, and told police she hid in a bathroom.

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"She looked pretty disheveled, she looked like she was very stressed out, very upset," neighbor Scott Pollack told KPHO-TV Friday. "She had her hands raised above her head, and she was walking out fairly slowly."

The family, which has origins in Morocco, reportedly ran a Phoenix area restaurant and operated a limousine service.

According to detectives, the business dispute had been lingering for some time, but no specific details have yet been released. However, at least one acquaintance has said the family has fought over finances for years, ABC 15 Phoenix reported.

RELATED Police: Phoenix SWAT standoff reveals family murder-suicide; 2 children escape

ABC 15 in Phoenix also reported that a former business associate of the family's thought highly of some of the victims, and noted that Diaeddinn seemed to have a temper. Diaeddinn and his wife, Reda, have reportedly been married for less than a year.

One neighbor described the family Thursday as "invisible," and another witness said the family owned two homes in the neighborhood -- one specifically so they could park additional vehicles, due to an HOA restriction limiting two cars per each driveway.

Police said each of the victims was shot multiple times, and that Diaeddinn was discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a gun next to his body.

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Detectives described the scene inside the home as "horrific," and said Diaeddinn appears to have "snapped" before opening fire on his family members, KPHO-TV reporter Kylee Cruz said Friday.

"It's very obvious, whether it's the heat, passion or the anger of what happened, he certainly went to great lengths to make sure each of them were dead," Sgt. Trent Crump said.

Officers engaged the gunman in a long standoff, addressing him in Arabic, news reports said. A SWAT team, police dogs and robotic equipment ultimately made entry to the home and found all five people dead inside.

The suspected gunman's wife, who had escaped the home with her children, was the one who made the emergency call to 911 immediately after the gunfire started. During the call, the dispatcher heard shots in the background and sent police units to the home.

"To have to go out the back of a home, taking two kids with you while you're on the phone with 911 while shots are being fired, it sounds like a very heroic act on her part," Sgt. Crump said in a news report by KPHO-TV. "To have the other female come out later is pretty miraculous."

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