Phoenix community comes to grips with boy's murder

PHOENIX - A school and neighborhood are trying to recover as Phoenix police continue their investigation into the stabbing death of 12-year-old Austin Tapia.

The suspect is Austin’s half-brother, 27-year-old Andrew Ward. Ward called 911 to turn himself in.

When Ward was asked why he did it, he told a police, “Honestly I just felt like killing.”

Stephanie Richie is a neighbor and friend of the family. She told ABC15 her son was best friends with Austin.

“(My kids) were out here playing, as he (Ward) was doing what he was doing to Austin so it’s really devastating,” Richie said.

She said her children were unaware of what was taking place in the home Wednesday afternoon as Ward allegedly stabbed his younger brother to death.

Richie remembers Austin as a kid filled with the life and energy of a typical 12-year-old. He was an avid biker.

“Beautiful smile, great laugh, typical 12-year-old boy, getting into trouble, riding his bike, camping in my backyard,” Richie said, crying as she spoke of Austin.

A statement sent out by Austin’s school, Paseo Hills, said “his infectious smile and caring attitudes will be greatly missed.”

"My heart goes out to that mom. I watched her and I know she was in so much pain. I feel really bad for her," said Misty Johnson, a parent at the school also lives in Austin's neighborhood.

And now the community is left with only memories of a life cut way too short.

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