A 92-year-old Arizona woman shot and killed her son after contemplating his plan to put her in an assisted living facility, police say. Anna Mae Blessing fatally shot her son Monday morning at their home in Fountain Hills, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
Her 72-year-old son has not been identified. Her son’s girlfriend was also at the home at the time of the shooting, but she was not injured. “According to statements provided by suspect Blessing and received by the detectives, she had been contemplating for several days her son’s intentions to place her in an assisted living facility,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Blessing Hid Pistols in the Pockets of Her Robe, Confronted Her Son in His Bedroom & Opened Fire, Killing Him, Before His Girlfriend Knocked the Gun Out of Her Hand, Police Say
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting at 16800 E. El Lago about 10 a.m. on July 2, KNXV-TV reports. Deputies arrived to find that Anna Mae Blessing, 92, had shot and killed her son, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Blessing hid two pistols in the pockets of her robe and then confronted her son in his bedroom, the sheriff’s office said. She removed one of the guns from her pocket and opened fire, shooting multiple times, police said. Her son was wounded and died at the scene, according to police.
Police said Blessing then pointed the other gun at her son’s 57-year-old girlfriend, but she charged at her and they began to struggle over the pistol. It became dislodged from the 92-year-old woman’s hand and the girlfriend was able to pick it up, according to police. She then called the sheriff’s office.
Police said in court documents obtained by KTVK-TV that Blessing’s son was shot in the neck and jaw.
2. She Told Detectives Her Son Told Her She Was Becoming ‘Difficult to Live With’ & She Told Him ‘You Ended My Life, So I’m Taking Yours’
Anna Blessing was found sitting in a recliner when deputies arrived, according to police. She was taken into custody without incident, the sheriff’s office said. Blessing had been living with her son and his girlfriend for about four months, police said.
Blessing told detectives her son had told her she was becoming “difficult to live with,” and that he was going to take her to an assisted living facility, KNXV-TV reports.
Police said she told her son, “You ended my life, so I’m taking yours.”
According to court documents obtained by KTVK-TV, Blessing had planned on killing herself after shooting her son, but she did not have another firearm in the house after her son’s girlfriend took the second pistol away from her.
3. The Sheriff Said It’s ‘Concerning’ When Domestic Issues ‘Escalate to Violence or Tragic Outcomes’
Sheriff Paul Penzone classified the case as a domestic violence homicide.
“It is always concerning when domestic issues escalate to violence or tragic outcomes,” Penzone told KSAZ-TV. “They are often isolated and neither predictable nor preventable.”
According to court documents obtained by KTVK-TV, there was at least one previous domestic violence call involving Blessing and her son. Police responded to that incident, but details were not immediately available other than it being a verbal dispute.
Blessing told police she had owned the two guns, a revolver and a .25 caliber pistol, since the 1970s. She said the revolver was bought at a gun store and the pistol was given to her by her husband before he died. She said she hadn’t fired either of the weapons since the 1970s, according to court documents.
“The suspect stated she stored the two handguns on the floor, under a shelf in her bedroom,” police said in the arrest report.
4. She Was Charged With First-Degree Murder, Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon & Kidnapping
Anna Mae Blessing was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping, online jail records show. She appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday, according to KTVK-TV, which has video of her appearance.
She sat in a wheelchair in an orange jail jumpsuit during the brief appearance. She did not speak other than reciting her name and date of birth, the video shows.
Blessing is being held at the Lower Buckeye Jail’s Initial Appearance area, records show. An attorney has been appointed to represent her, but the attorney has not commented.
She is scheduled to appear in court again on July 10 at the Regional Court Center Downtown in Phoenix. Blessing is being held on $500,000 cash-only bond. If she is released, she will not be able to return to the scene of the crime, will not be able to contact the surviving victim or the arresting officer and will not be able to possess weapons or drugs without a prescription.
5.Blessing’s Husband Died in 2007 & She Previously Lived in California & Florida
Blessing’s husband, Billy Blessing, died in 2007 in Florida, according to an obituary in the Orlando Sentinel. Anna Mae Blessing lived in Visalia, California, from 1990 to 1992 and in Kissimmee, Florida, from 1992 to 2017, records show. She moved to Black Canyon City, Arizona, in 2017 and then to Fountain Hills earlier this year.
Few other details about her and her son were immediately available. Her son’s name was not released by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in the press release about Blessing’s arrest.
According to KTVK-TV, police said in court documents that detectives asked Blessing what she thinks should happen to her and, “she replied she should be ‘put to sleep’ as a result of her actions.”