Ariz. Father and His 2 Children Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide, Police Say

The father's estranged wife called the police to do a welfare check at his home after being notified that their children had an excused absence from school

<p>Surprise Police Department</p> Brock Mater

Surprise Police Department

Brock Mater

A father and his two children are dead after an apparent murder-suicide, police in Surprise, Ariz. announced on Tuesday, May 21.

Brock Mater, 34, and his 7-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were found dead after police conducted a welfare check at his home at the request of Mater's estranged wife on Monday, May 20.

According to an incident debrief from the Surprise Police Department, Mater's estranged wife became concerned after the kids' school called to report an unexcused absence following their visit with him over the weekend.

She informed officers that she could not reach Mater over the phone and was met with no response after knocking at the front door of his residence "multiple times."

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<p>Getty</p> Stock image of crime scene tape


Stock image of crime scene tape

After seeing his vehicle at the residence, she called the police, who arrived just after 12:30 p.m. and "attempted multiple knocks, announcements and telephone calls without a successful response."

The incident debrief states that once officers entered the residence, "both children and their father were found deceased inside."

"All three had gunshot wounds to the head in an apparent murder-suicide. Officers located a rifle across the father’s lap," the report adds.

Surprise Police Sgt. Rick Hernandez said during a press conference that neighbors reported hearing "loud noises, possibly fireworks, that prompted many of the neighbors to come outside and investigate."

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of a police siren


Stock image of a police siren

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"They did not see anything suspicious, and then they returned to their homes but they heard noises, and that's the time we believe that the incident occurred, which would be Sunday night," he said.

According to Hernandez, Mater was also undergoing mental health treatment.

"It is our understanding that while they were separated, he was going and actively seeking and actively receiving mental health treatment," Hernandez said. "And that treatment was going well."

After being asked by a reporter if police had responded to any "crisis situation" involving Mater in the past, Hernandez said, "We have."

<p>Surprise Police Department</p> Brock Mater

Surprise Police Department

Brock Mater

"That happened in October 2023. And Mr. Mater was transported for treatment at that time," he said. "And one thing I want to make very clear as of right now, we do not have any criminal history of Mr. Mater. All of the history we have locally here is for welfare checks, typically related to mental health issues."

“Mental health, domestic violence, it doesn’t know ZIP codes. It doesn’t know socio-economic status, and it can happen to anybody, anywhere. The thing we can always encourage everybody to do is if you or your loved one is experiencing crisis, mental health issues, is to seek treatment," Hernandez later added.

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to

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