Daniel Taylor, 18, Accused of Shooting Two People, Killing One, at Tempe Christmas Party

An 18-year-old shot two people at a Christmas party in Tempe yesterday, killing one, after getting kicked out of the party twice, police say.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, Daniel Taylor was asked to leave the party because he wasn't invited, but returned wearing a clown mask, and opened fire at people standing on the patio of the apartment.

Jeff Ward, age 28, died from gunshot wounds, while a woman who was also shot was hospitalized, and treated for her injuries, according to Tempe Police Sergeant Michael Pooley. Her name was not released.

According to court documents, Taylor showed up to the party on Saturday night and introduced himself to people, and also gave out other personal information that police would later use to identify him as the shooter.

Taylor was asked to leave by someone who lived at the apartment, since the resident didn't know Taylor, and neither did anyone else at the party.

Some time later, Taylor changed his clothes, and showed up again at the party. Again, he was asked to leave, and again, he did.

According to the court documents Taylor returned wearing a clown mask, and was spotted hiding in bushes near the apartment, before approaching the patio and shooting at people early Sunday morning.

Police tracked down Taylor, and served a search warrant at an apartment in the same complex, near University Drive and Loop 101, where Taylor lives with his mother, according to court documents.

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According to a probable-cause statement, Taylor's matched the description of the shooter, and the clown mask was found at the apartment, too. Police also recovered a .22-caliber handgun, along with ammunition in the apartment and in Taylor's pants pocket that was the same size and brand as the casings found at the scene of the shooting.

Taylor was booked into jail on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, discharging a firearm within city limits, and discharging a firearm at a residence.

This morning, a judge set Taylor's bond at $450,000.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley