Police arrest man in grisly series of killings, which he says were commanded by God

Austin Smith, is in police custody after confessing to the killings of his family and a friend because he thinks he was ordered by God to do so

Editor’s Note: Warning, this content contains graphic descriptions that may be disturbing for some readers A Phoenix man who was

Austin Smith
Police say Austin Elijah Smith killed his family and a friend. (AP)

Editor’s Note: Warning, this content contains graphic descriptions that may be disturbing for some readers

A Phoenix man who was taken into police custody on charges of murdering his wife, two daughters and a family friend, confessed to the gruesome crime, and said that God told him to commit them.

According to the Arizona Republic, Austin Smith, 30, confronted his wife, Dasia Patterson, 29, last Thursday night and accused her of cheating on him. When Patterson denied that she was cheating, Smith reportedly told police that he “shot her because he believed God told him to do so,” according to Maricopa County court records.

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Police say after killing Patterson, Smith went after two of his three daughters. Smith told police, according to the court record, that his 5-year-old daughter, Nasha, had “exhibited bad behavior” that went against God’s law, so he put her on top of his wife’s dead body and then shot her in the back of the head.

Police said he then killed his 7-year-old daughter, Mayan, after she started crying.

“Austin believed you should not weep for the wicked, so he punched her in the face several times with a closed fist, threw her up into the ceiling, and threw her down to the floor several times,” police wrote in the court document.

Maya tried to escape but Smith wouldn’t let her, saying God wanted him to kill her too. He “took a baseball bat and struck the child’s head several times,” which killed her, police said.

Smith told police he killed two of his daughters because they reminded him of his wife, whom he was convinced was wicked, according to court documents. Smith told police he didn’t hurt his third and youngest, who is a 3-year-old toddler, because “she reminded him of himself,” police said.

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After killing his family members, Smith allegedly drove to his brother’s apartment and ran into a family friend. He told the friend that he was looking for his brother because he believed his brother was having an affair with his wife.

The man “told Austin he was crazy” and that may have cost him his life. Police say Smith then shot the family friend several times with a handgun, killing him, and also fired at others who tried to aid the man.

After reports of gunshots, Phoenix police arrived at the scene at 8:18 p.m., and found Ron Freeman, 46, dead at the scene. Two other people were shot in the apartment, including a 47-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man. The woman is in critical condition and the man is in serious condition, according to the Arizona Republic.

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While police were interviewing witnesses, Smith left the scene, but police located him and took him into custody.

Witnesses informed police about the prior crime scene and it was then that police discovered deceased members of Smith’s family.

Bond for Smith was set at $2 million. He was charged with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, and three counts of aggravated assault, according to Phoenix police.

A hearing is scheduled for April 22.