Neighbors and the ex-wife of Michael Dante Guzzo, who police said shot down four members of a Phoenix family and then took his own life, believe that the victims' barking dogs were just a flash point in the life of a deeply disturbed man who had previously lashed out at them.
On Saturday, police said, Guzzo went to his next-door neighbors' townhouse with a shotgun, killing members of the Moore family: Bruce, 66, Michael, 42, Renee, 36, and Shannon, 17. Guzzo killed Bruce and his son-in-law Michael on the back porch before going inside to kill Renee and her son Shannon.
"I don't understand how the barking of a dog can make someone kill an entire family," neighbor Charise Hatchett told The Times, referring to early speculation. "There had to be something more."
There was, Guzzo's former wife said.
"He was a tortured individual," she told local television station KPNX. The woman, who had been married to Guzzo for 20 years but didn't want to be identified, said he was depressed, had no self-esteem and suffered from anger.
"Even when I married him, life was always hard for him," she said. "Everybody was out to get him. It was that type of thing."
His ex-wife, a psychiatric nurse, said she tried to help Guzzo but he refused treatment and instead isolated himself further from his family.
Neighbor Libni DeLeon said he first noticed Guzzo’s temper during an
DeLeon said Guzzo was bothered by the noise and told the children to shut up and move away from the front of his house.
On Saturday, Guzzo also shot out the front of DeLeon's town home. He called it a miracle that his family, including his two young children, were not hurt.
"I can't explain it. He must have just flipped out," DeLeon said.
Hatchett said most people in the neighborhood are friendly, but she'd noticed that Guzzo was a bit of a recluse. She would see him outside picking up trash in the neighborhood by himself.
She said some neighbors had said he left notes out for them, telling them to keep their dogs quiet. Still, she never had an altercation with him.
Don McKenzie, who lives across the street from Guzzo's town home, said he did not have problems with the shooter. Guzzo would wave to him in the mornings and acted perfectly fine, he said.
However, McKenzie does remember that he did lash out once with another neighbor over a parking space.
"He became unhinged a bit," he said.
Guzzo's former wife described him as having a volatile temper and said she can imagine what happened that day.
"He had these dogs barking that he'd already addressed and they probably had words. And you had an individual who really didn't care. I think he made the decision that would be his last day. I do. I really do," she told KPNX. "For him to have a weapon like that it's just a recipe for disaster."