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Mother allegedly fatally shoots daughter, 2, critically wounds son, 6, weeks after wellbeing check, police say


Oct. 1 2021, Published 9:06 a.m. ET

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An Arizona mother is accused of shooting her 2-year-old daughter to death and seriously wounding her 6-year-old son, police said.

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Around 11:45 a.m. Sept. 27, Esther Callejas, 24, allegedly shot the children at their home in Phoenix and then phoned her husband and sister-in-law to tell them they were dead.

The husband and his sister alerted police, who responded to the scene and discovered Callejas’ unresponsive toddler, Esperanza Isidro, with a gunshot wound to the chest. Her son, who has not been publicly identified, was struck in the head, torso and arm, television station reported, citing court documents.

Emergency responders rushed the children to a local hospital, where the younger child was pronounced dead. The injured boy underwent emergency surgery and remains in critical condition.

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Callejas had a gunshot wound to her hand, and officers detained her at the scene.

The mother allegedly admitted to shooting her children, telling detectives in an interview that she wanted them to go to heaven, Phoenix Police Sgt. Ann Justus said.


Callejas allegedly also said she wanted to kill herself but was unable to reload the gun, according to Justus.

“Behind the badge, our officers are people. At the end of the day, they are people first and they have human emotions, so when that's happening, they're able to put that aside, they're able to get the job done but then when reality hits them it can hit really hard,” Sgt. Justus said. “It's not normal to see a child shot. It's not normal to do CPR on a baby who is shot by a parent.”

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At the time of the incident, Callejas allegedly was depressed and took all her prescribed antidepressants left in the prescription bottle following the shooting, court documents state.

On Sept. 14, Callejas’ husband, fearing for his family’s safety, reportedly called police to do a wellbeing check on her and their children, but nobody was home when officers arrived. Contacted by phone, Callejas said everyone was fine.

The mother was being held at the Maricopa County Jail on a $2 million bond. She faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.


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