A man has been arrested accused of killing four people, including his wife and two of his children over what he believed was an affair.
Austin Smith, 30, was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, on Thursday on suspicion of four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault.
It’s alleged Smith shot and killed his wife Dasia Patterson, 29, and their five-year-old daughter Nasha Smith before killing seven-year-old Mayan Smith.
Mayan died from apparent blunt-force trauma but the couple’s three-year-old daughter was uninjured in the incident.
It’s further alleged Smith then drove to a separate property and shot Ron Freeman, 46. Two other people were also found wounded.
Phoenix Police Department Sergeant Tommy Thompson said Smith’s three-year-old daughter was found hiding under a bed.
It’s alleged the father killed his eldest daughter because she was crying. The court document described Smith punching her, throwing her to the ceiling and onto the floor, then striking the child’s head several times with a baseball bat.
Court documents also state he shot Nasha in the back of the head after laying her on his dead wife’s body, newspaper Arizona Republic reported.
The newspaper, citing court documents, reported Smith killed two of his daughters because they reminded him of his wife. He spared the three-year-old because she “reminded him of himself”, according to the documents.
Sgt Thompson said the 30-year-old told officers the reason he killed members of his family was because “in God’s eyes it was all right for him to deal with someone in this manner”.
Police initially said the father thought Mr Freeman was romantically involved with his wife.
But a probable cause statement later filed in court said the suspect thought it was his brother, who was not named in the document, who was having an affair with her.
Officers with a warrant searched the car Smith was driving and found a 9mm handgun, a .45 caliber handgun and a .223 caliber rifle they believe were used in the shootings, according to the probable cause statement.
Ms Patterson’s mum Cynthia told ABC 15 her two dead grandchildren “were the most beautiful, sweetest children in the world”.
“My daughter (Dasia) was one of the most humble (people) in the world. Sweet, honest, and wouldn’t harm anyone,” she told the station.
Smith’s bail has been set at more than A$5.5 million.
With Associated Press
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