A murder-suicide in Phoenix killed 5 people including a 6-year-old girl named Emma on the morning of February 23. Authorities say Alex Buckner, 26, killed his parents, shot his sisters and was then killed by police. So far, investigators haven’t released a motive for Buckner’s actions. Police were initially called to a home, near 47th Avenue and Cactus Road in Phoenix, on Tuesday morning after receiving a call around 5:15 a.m. from a woman saying there was a shooting inside her home. That woman, later named as Buckner’s teenage sister Kaitlin, told a 911 dispatcher that the shooter was her brother, reports AZ Family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Buckner Fired on Police as Officers Tried to Rescue the Victims
ABC Phoenix reports that responding officers described the scene as an “active shooter event” and that the house was on fire. When first responders tried to get close to the home to put out the flames Buckner shot at them. Phoenix police then put on tactical gear and carried hoses as they tried to put out the blaze. Eventually, there was a lull in the fire. Around 45 minutes later more gunshots were heard and the flames began again. AZ Central reports that there was another exchange of gunshots between Buckner and officers. Once again, first responders attempted to put out the fire. Shortly after, police were able to enter the home where they discovered Alex Buckner dead.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton lauded the efforts of the emergency services. He told the media at the scene of the murder suicide that, “These are what heroes look like.” Stanton later added that he was a “proud mayor” after a “job well done” by the first responders. While Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said, “We had police holding fire hoses … this is a tragedy.” Crump also said that, “Officers were getting shot at from the second floor of the home while they were trying to extinguish the fire and extract people from the house.”
2. He Had Drug Problems & Was Recently Released From Rehab as Well as Being Diagnosed With Schizophrenia
Alex Buckner suffered from drug problems and was recently released from a drug rehab facility, reports Fox Phoenix. Neighbors told the network that there had never been any problems with the family in the “tight-knit neighborhood.” Speaking to NBC Phoenix, a friend of the family said that Buckner “never talked to nobody. He just had his head down, come out, maybe run around the garage and have a cigarette, and just never talk to anybody.”
His grandmother, Diana Buckner, told ABC Phoenix, “How does a family talk about a grandson who had mental problems, yet not be angry for the grief that he caused?” She added that he had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Despite his problems, she caused the shooting out of character because he didn’t have a history of violent behavior.
3. Buckner’s Sister Was Shot in the Abdomen
One of the victims, Alex Buckner’s sister, Kaitlin, 18, was shot in the abdomen. NBC Phoenix reports that she was alive when police entered the home. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
4. Police Believe Buckner Used His Father’s Gun in Committing the Crime
Buckner’s parents have been named as Vic, 50 and Kim Buckner, 49, of Glendale, Arizona, reports ABC Phoenix.
Online records show that Vic Buckner ran his car lubrication business out of the home where the February 23 tragedy took place. It’s ABC Phoenix who later reported that investigators believe that Buckner used his father’s gun to kill his family.
5. The Family’s Dog Was Rescued From the Confrontation
Meanwhile, three police officers were taken to a local hospital as a precaution for smoke inhalation. No first responders were seriously injured.