Ballet dancer fatally shot in Arizona by ‘startled’ husband: cops

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Ballet dancer fatally shot in Arizona by 'startled' husband: cops

A young ballet dancer was fatally shot in her Arizona home by her “startled” husband — and now he’s charged with murder, police said.

Colleen Hoopes, a 25-year-old dancer for Ballet Arizona, was gunned down in her Tempe home early Friday.

Her husband, Christopher Hoopes, called 911 at 3:30 a.m. to the report the shooting, saying he awoke while panicked and fired twice before realizing he shot his wife, according to court documents obtained by the Arizona Republic.

Hoopes, who was shot twice in the chest, was pronounced dead at a hospital less than an hour later.

Christopher Hoopes, 36, is facing charges including second-degree murder in the shooting — which occurred in a bedroom, court documents show. His bond has been set at $750,000 ahead of a court date set for Thursday, the newspaper reported.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of company dancer Colleen Hoopes,” Ballet Arizona tweeted Wednesday. “Our hearts go out to her loved ones.”

Ballet Arizona dancer Colleen Hoopes
Colleen Hoopes joined Ballet Arizona in 2017 after finishing professional ballet training at a dance center in Rochester.
Ballet Arizona

Christopher Hoopes initially told dispatchers the shooting was accidental, Tempe police told KTAR-FM.

“He woke up startled and fired his weapon,” Sgt. Hector Encinas told the radio station.

Two separate shots were fired roughly two seconds apart during the deadly discharge, according to a recording from a neighbor provided to police, the Arizona Republic reported.

Christopher Hoopes
Christopher Hoopes called 911 at 3:30 a.m. to the report the shooting.
Tempe Police Department

Colleen Hoopes joined Ballet Arizona in 2017 after finishing professional ballet training at a dance center in Rochester, New York. She previously attended Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, according to the newspaper.

“Colleen was an integral part of the Ballet Arizona and will be missed deeply,” the group told the Arizona Republic in a statement. “She was passionate and dedicated to her art form and a bright light to us all.”

Hoopes’ sister, Michaela Buckley, said she was most alive while performing her craft.

“You could tell how happy she was when she was dancing,” Buckley told AZFamily.com. “That’s where she showed her most joy and she’s so free. It was really beautiful watching her on stage.”

Colleen Hoopes
Hoopes was shot twice in the chest.
Ballet Arizona

Video posted to YouTube showed Hoopes performing various routines at Indiana University, including “The Nutcracker Snow Princess.”

Buckley and Hoopes’ mother, Deb Buckley, declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

“You are stunned,” Deb Buckley told the outlet. “You’re devastated. It’s a nightmare you keep trying to wake up from. My heart has been ripped out of my chest and that pain is real.”

cops Ballet Arizona dancer shot dead
Two separate shots were fired roughly two seconds apart during the deadly discharge, according to a recording from a neighbor provided to police.
KSAZ-TV

Hoopes’ family, meanwhile, is planning to create a scholarship in her memory at the Draper Center for Dance Education in Rochester.

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