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Mesa Man Planned "Copycat" Killing Like the Triple Murder in Phoenix, Cops Say

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A Mesa man has been arrested in an alleged plot to kill his family, as a "copycat" of the man who murdered three family members in Phoenix before shooting himself on Tuesday.

Mesa Police Detective Steve Berry says a roommate reported 34-year-old Carlos Hillan's intentions to police, and officers arrested him Wednesday after he jumped over the back wall at his wife's house with a gas can and lighter in hand.

See also:
-Phoenix Man Shoots and Kills Three Family Members Before Turning the Gun on Himself

In the Phoenix case on Tuesday, police say 53-year-old Michael Sanders killed his estranged wife, daughter, and brother-in-law, then set his wife's body on fire.

Sanders' wife and daughter previously had moved out of the house, but Sanders was supposed to leave the home while his wife and daughter gathered some of their belongings.

Sanders showed up and shot his brother-in-law, who was sitting in his truck on the driveway, before he chased down his wife and 14-year-old daughter and shot them, too.

After setting fire to his wife's body, Sanders walked down an alley behind the house and fatally shot himself.

In the alleged "copycat" case in Mesa, police say Hillan was going to sit at his wife's house and wait for her to get home from work.

"When later interviewed, he admitted to his plan and also said that he was going to kill their 3-year-old daughter," Detective Berry says in an e-mail.

Nobody was harmed, and Hillan was booked into jail on charges of attempted first-degree murder, attempted arson, and burglary.

"Had the roommates not taken action and called the police, it seems clear that we would be talking about another tragedy today," Berry says. "There are not words to describe the immediate and dedicated work of the detectives and officers who stopped this crime before it happened."

More details to come.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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