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Southside neighbor shot, killed after trying to help with house fire

Cory Saunders
Melissa Snyder

TUCSON (KVOA) - News 4 Tucson learned more details Monday about one of the victims who was shot and killed just steps away from his southside home.

On Sunday, he rushed to help when he realized his neighbor's house was on fire. His girlfriend and family were left completely devastated after he never made it back home.

Cory Saunders, 44, is one of the two victims pronounced dead on Sunday.

His girlfriend, Melissa Snyder said Cory had run out of their home after they realized their neighbors home was on fire.

"Cory didn't even think twice and he ran out the door and I followed him to the truck," Snyder said. "And by then, him and the other neighbor were running. I watched the firetrucks come up and within seconds. I saw the homeowner's SUV pull up behind the firetruck and he got out and started shooting."

In that time, two EMTs, one TFD fire captain and two residents were shot.

"I watched my neighbor that had ran with Cory run back into my other neighbor's yard. And he was holding his head he had been shot," Snyder said. "I think I stood there for a moment, waiting for Cory."

Saunders did not return home.

"I don't know how much time passed, but then, I watched them carry Cory over to our side of the yard," Snyder said.

Snyder said she had a few interactions with the suspect's family. She said the suspect, who was later identified as 35-year-old Leslie Stephen Scarlett, lived in the house that caught fire.

"You see our neighbors helping. I'm watching my boyfriend help bang on windows," Snyder said. "I'm watching the firefighters get out of the new truck and the next thing I know, I see that SUV pull up. I remember thinking like omg he's there, his family and I heard the gunshot."

Snyder says Saunders was an amazing man and the love of her life.

There is a GoFundMe set up for her family, If you would like to donate, click here.

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Denelle Confair

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