PHOENIX – A Phoenix man has been arrested on suspicion of killing his wife, two of his young daughters and a man who the suspect thought was romantically involved with his wife, police said Friday.
Austin Smith was booked on suspicion of four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault, Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.
Bail was set at $2 million, court records show. A Maricopa County Superior Court sent Smith’s case to the local public defender’s office. But no specific attorney had been assigned to him by Friday evening.
Smith was arrested Thursday evening as he drove from an apartment complex where officers had responded to a shooting. There, they found the body of 46-year-old Ron Freeman. A woman and another man were shot and wounded at the complex, Thompson said.
Officers who went to Smith’s home later Thursday found his wife, 29-year-old Dasia Patterson, and their 5-year-old daughter, Nasha Smith, dead from gunshot wounds. Their 7-year-old daughter, Mayan Smith, died from apparent blunt-force trauma, and the couple’s 3-year-old daughter was found uninjured under a bed at the family’s home.
“It is my understanding that for whatever reason he elected not to shoot her,” Thompson said.
The suspect told detectives during an interview that he believed “in God’s eyes it was all right for him to deal with someone in this manner who had been involved in adultery or an extramarital affair,” Thompson said.
He described the scene at the apartment complex as chaotic, with firefighters treating victims while authorities did not initially know the shooter’s whereabouts.
Officers searching his car with a search warrant found a 9mm handgun, a .45 caliber handgun and a .223 caliber rifle they believe were used in the shootings, according to a probable cause statement filed in the case.
Associated Press writer Paul Davenport contributed to this report.
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