Phoenix mother accused of fatally shooting daughter, 2, and critically wounding son, 6

Police said the suspect, 24-year-old Esther Callejas, told detectives she wanted her children "to go to heaven.”


A Phoenix mother gunned down her 2-year-old daughter and critically wounded her 6-year-old son in hopes they could "go to heaven," police said Thursday.

Esther Callejas, 24, called her husband and other family members on Monday to say she had shot the children, Phoenix police Sgt. Ann Justus said in a statement.

Those family members notified police, and officers responded to a home on South 8th Place near East Broadway Road where they "began immediate life-saving actions" on the girl and boy, according to Justus.

Both children were rushed to the hospital where the younger one was pronounced dead.

Callejas admitted to shooting the children "because she wanted them to go to heaven," Justus said. "She told detectives she planned on killing herself after, but she was unable to reload the gun."

Back on Sept. 14, Callejas' husband called police, worried about the "well-being of his wife and children," Justus said. That prompted officers to do a welfare check. Officers spoke to Callejas on the phone and the mother allegedly told police that she and her children were OK.

Callejas was being held at Maricopa County Jail on Thursday. It wasn't clear if she had hired or been assigned an attorney.