12-Year-Old Boy Scout Killed Stepsister, Himself With Father’s Gun: Police

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A 12-year-old boy in Washington state allegedly fatally shot his stepsister and himself with his father’s handgun.

Officials in Benton County on Friday ruled the deaths of Ethan, 12, and Kaitlin Austin, 16, a murder-suicide.

“There is no evidence of what the motivation was,” the family’s attorney Scott Johnson told the Tri-City Herald. “Without that you are left to speculate.”

Investigators do not believe the attack was premeditated.

Drew Austin, who is Ethan’s father and Kaitlin’s stepfather, found their bodies in Kaitlyn’s bedroom on June 9.

Kaitlin suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso, police said.

Ethan, who was an avid hunter, suffered a single bullet wound to the head.

The murder weapon was kept in a family safe that Ethan reportedly had access to. Investigators said Ethan was allowed to handle guns without his parents’ supervision, the New York Daily News reported.

A toxicology report showed neither sibling had drugs or alcohol in their system at the time of the incident.

"No motive and no reason would never fully explain what happened," Johnson said. "You have a young mother and father who are very nice people, and they had two kids who were very nice kids."

Ethan spent a lot of time hunting with his father. In a statement the family said the boy had a “caring and loving heart.”

His sister was a junior at Kamiakin High School and a pitcher for the school’s state championship softball team.

"(She) was a beautiful, happy young lady, always with a smile on her face," the family wrote in a statement. "She was smart and loved to challenge herself both athletically and in the classroom."

Sources: New York Daily News, Tri-City Herald

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