Mesa police Detective Nik Rasheta talks about a fatal shooting that left a woman dead and a man in police custody on July 13, 2017.
Adrian Marsh/

A man who told police he fatally shot his girlfriend after an early-morning argument on Thursday in Mesa faces a second-degree murder charge, police said.

Police, in a probable-cause document filed in court, said Teddy Vanders, 52, called police just before 4 a.m. Thursday to report he had fatally shot his girlfriend at their Mesa residence in the 7000 block of East Monte Avenue. The court document did not identify the victim.

Vanders told police he and his girlfriend lived together for 10 years and had argued before the shooting, the court document said. He told police he shot the woman to end her abusiveness, the court record said.

Officers reported the victim had a gunshot wound in the front of her head and that a handgun with one spent cartridge in the cylinder was found near the location of the shooting, the court record said.

Responding officers said they smelled alcohol on the man’s breath, and that there were indications the victim could have also been drinking before the shooting, the court record said.

Vanders later told police both of them had been drinking before the shooting, the court record said. 

Investigators found several other guns in the home, but said they were all unloaded.

The court record said Vanders told an officer while en route to the police station that the victim had been abusive toward him and was “acting crazy the night prior.”

Vanders also told the officer to “interview the victim’s family and friends so that we would discover his actions were understandable,” the court record said.

Vanders told police he understood he would do prison time for shooting his girlfriend, but “hoped the judge understood him” and that jail time would be “worth it because the victim would not be abusing him any longer,” the court record said. 

The court record said a review of the 911 call showed that when he was asked by dispatchers if the victim was still breathing, Vanders appeared to chuckle and said, “She is gone.” 

The court record also said Vanders had a previous history of domestic violence. 

Vanders’ bond was set at $750,000 and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 24.


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