A man spared his three-year-old look-alike daughter, but killed his wife, two other daughters and a family friend in a love triangle, US police have said.
Austin Smith, 30, allegedly shot dead his wife Dasia Patterson, 29, and killed two of their daughters at their home in Phoenix, Arizona for cheating on him.
Smith bludgeoned to death eldest daughter Mayan Smith, seven, with a baseball bat and shot Nasha Smith, but spared his young daughter.
Officers found the girls’ three-year-old sister cowering under a bed unhurt.
“It is my understanding that for whatever reason he elected not to shoot her,” said Phoenix Police Department officer Tommy Thompson.
Smith told police he spared his youngest daughter because she “reminded him of himself”, whereas his other daughters reminded him of his wife.
Smith was arrested as he drove away from an apartment complex where officers had responded to reports of a shooting. At the building they discovered the body of family friend Ron Freeman, 46.
Police initially said Smith thought Freeman was romantically involved with his wife, but a statement filed in court later said the suspect believed it was his brother, who was staying at the complex, who was having an affair with her.
Smith shot Freeman after he told him “he was crazy” to think his wife was cheating on him, according to the court filing.
He allegedly fired at him repeatedly even as his body laid on the floor and also shot and injured two of Freeman’s friends, a man and a woman, as they tried to help him.
Thompson described the scene at the apartment complex as chaotic, with medics treating victims before authorities knew of the shooter’s whereabouts.
Police who searched Smith’s car found a 9mm handgun, a .45 calibre handgun and a .223 calibre rifle believed to have been used in the rampage.
Officers discovered the other victims when they went to Smith’s family home later on Thursday.
He told detectives during an interview 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”.
The court document described Smith punching his eldest daughter, and throwing her to the ceiling and the floor, before striking the child’s head several times with a baseball bat.
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