As a Tempe mother sat in jail Saturday on suspicion of killing her son, police answered questions about what they knew and when after saying officers had been at the family’s home shortly before the shooting.
Cynthia Hernandez was arrested Friday on suspicion of shooting to death her son, Jeremy Barragan, who turned 14 just two days earlier and was found dead that morning.
On Thursday night, just before midnight, Tempe police were at the family’s apartment at 30 W. Carter Drive on a “disturbance call,” said spokesman officer Brandon Banks.
When officers arrived, the mother and son were the apartment, but nothing led officers to believe any violence had taken place, Banks said.
“At 11:45, we know for certain that Jeremy was alive,” Banks said.
More than eight hours later, at 8:19 a.m., the boy’s father, whose name was not released, called 911 saying his son was dead in the apartment.
It became the second suspected family killing in the East Valley this month.
On Feb. 6, police say a 15-year-old boy in Mesa shot his father in the back of the head, killing him. The teen has since been charged with premeditated murder.
The mother in the Tempe shooting was not home when police arrived the second time, though Banks would not say where she was.
After locating her, she made “admission statements,” Banks said, which he added does not necessarily mean she admitted to the killing. He would not clarify.
“The exact type of statement, I just can’t divulge at this point,” he said.
Officers quickly arrested Hernandez. As of Saturday, she was being held in a Maricopa County jail on $250,000 bond.
Police released few other details, saying some information, if immediately made public, could hurt the ongoing investigation.
Banks would not say what was the nature of the previous night’s disturbance call or what may have led Hernandez to kill her son.
Barragan was an eighth-grader at McKemy Middle School in Tempe, where officials said he enrolled at the beginning of the school year.
“He seemed to be doing well,” said Tempe Elementary School District spokeswoman Monica Allread.
A crisis team will be on the campus Tuesday for students and faculty dealing with Barragan’s death.
“We say ‘crisis, not ‘grief,’ because often grief doesn’t set in at first,” Allread said. “Sometimes it’s shock.”
ABC15 News contributed to this report.