Throughout history, people have committed some of the oddest crimes, only to say that they did it “because God told them too”. In 2008 Donna Marie Redding faced murder charges after shooting her husband. When questioned by authorities, she simply stated that her husband used the Lord’s name in vein too much, therefore Jesus “told her to do it”. And we all remember Charles Manson. He organized a cult following and a killing spree in the late 1960’s. He believed he was the fifth angel from the book of Revelations in The Bible. He believed and told his followers that he was told to organize these crimes because The Bible (and The Beatles) told him to do it.
With each of these incidents we can’t help but wonder what the actual contributing factors are. Mental illness, abuse, and revenge are typically running rampant in those who are involved in mass shootings or acts of violence against their own family or loved ones. It’s rare that we see these acts in the name of God, but just three days ago Austin Smith of Phoenix Arizona was arrested for the murder of four people, all because he believed “God told him to do it”. Smith allegedly believed his wife, Dasia Patterson was having an affair. After confronting her he shot not only her, but also two of their three children.
Smith told police that he shot Patterson, as well as their five year old daughter because he felt God wanted him to do it. After witnessing these heinous acts, his seven year old daughter began to cry. He then attacked her, and she died as a result of blunt force trauma. He left his youngest, three year old daughter alive, hiding under the bed. He says that he did not want to kill her because she reminded him of himself, whereas the older daughters took after his wife.
Smith believed that the alleged affair was happening between his wife and his brother. After shooting his wife and two children, he then went to the residence his brother was staying at. A family friend answered the door and was also shot and killed after trying to reason with Smith. Ron Freeman was the victim and was shot multiple times. Smith then went back to his car, only to appear with another weapon and begin shooting at friends trying to help Freeman. Luckily, none of them were hit and Smith eventually left the scene, only to be arrested nearby. Thankfully, police were able to find Smith quickly after his stop at Freemans house so that he could be stopped.
For news footage and press release on this story, please visit https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/west-phoenix/police-1-dead-2-hurt-after-shooting-in-west-phoenix