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Arizona Man Accused Of Fatally Shooting Ballerina Wife Claims She Startled Him In Middle Of Night, Cops Say

arizona shooting
Source: Tempe Police Department; UNSPLASH

May 26 2022, Published 10:05 a.m. ET

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An Arizona man is accused of fatally shooting his ballet dancer wife and then claiming he didn’t realize it was her, authorities said.

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Around 3:45 a.m. on May 20, officers from the Tempe Police Department responded to a residence after Christopher Hoopes phoned 911.

“The caller said he was startled by his wife in the middle of the night and shot her,” Detective Natalie Barela, said, AZ Family reported.

Christopher Hoopes allegedly told police he only realized he was shooting at his wife, 25-year-old Colleen Hoopes, after firing two or three rounds, court documents state.

The victim, who was hit twice in the chest, was rushed to an area hospital, where she died a short time later.

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According to the documents, investigators allegedly found evidence that contradicted Christopher Hoopes’ claims, including their determination the husband allegedly fired his gun from the foot of the bed toward the other end.

Audio taken from a neighbor’s surveillance system allegedly shows one shot was fired followed by another — but over two seconds later, court paperwork states.

Investigators also claimed the husband waited about four minutes after the shooting to call 911, KSAZ reported.

“It’s key that neighbors were able to help us and provide some of that feedback through surveillance and through recordings,” Detective Barela noted. “That helps us to develop different probable cause than statements that were made and said.”

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Christopher Hoopes currently faces charges of second-degree murder, and discharging a firearm within city limits.

He was released from custody after posting $750,000 bond.

Colleen Hoopes was a professional dancer with Ballet Arizona.

“Being a ballerina at a company is not a job. It’s like Major League Baseball. It’s like NFL. To be able to be a dancer at that level is the major league,” said the victim’s mother, Deb Buckley. “All she wanted was to dance on that stage. She’s the kindest, gentlest, most loving and caring person you’ve ever met in your whole life.”

Buckley said her daughter’s death has left her “stunned” and “devastated.”

“It’s a nightmare you keep trying to wake up from,” she said. “My heart has been ripped out of my chest and that pain is real.”

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