Relatives of slain PHX family ask for support

Posted at 7:36 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 11:39:31-05

Relatives are asking for donations to help with funeral expenses for a Phoenix family murdered by their own son Tuesday.

Police say Alex Buckner, 26, shot his parents, Vic and Kim Buckner, and sisters, Kaitlin and Emma, before dawn. He then set the house on fire and die in an armed confrontation with police. 

Kim Buchner came from a large family in Phoenix, and they gathered outside of the crime scene at Sunnyside and 47th avenues Wednesday. 

"The Buckner family had a house full of love," remembered Kim's brother Bob Zard.

The family has set up the Buckner Family Memorial Fund to pay for the funeral and five burials. Donations can be made on GoFundMe or at Chase Bank locations.

"They were the closest family were have ever seen, not just to them but to all of us," Kim's stepfather, Ken Wallace, said.

They cried and hugged each other as they explained Alex's mental illness is what caused the tragedy. 

"My sister [Kim] and Vic would never allow this if they thought anything like this would happen," said Mindy Miller. "This was not something we expect. It's not something we're going to have hindsight 20/20. This is just devastating."

Miller said Alex was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She said families cannot force adult children to get treatment for their mental illnesses and not do they want to force them out on the streets.

"He was like anybody else with schizophrenia, he suffered and therefore everyone else around him did too," said Miller. 

Mental health lawyer Chick Arnold, who once served as the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary or Guardian for wards of the state, said taking away a patient's rights to make their own medical decisions is a tough, uphill battle for families. 

"The problem, of course, is that often, a person with a schizophrenic disorder can, when treated, make those decisions. As well, a guardian has only limited authority to get someone treatment if they're unwilling. That leads to a discussion about involuntary treatment standards, and that's a whole different matter," said Arnold. 

Arnold said families face many conflicting issues but speaking with a professional is a way to start the conversation about your options. 

For more information on mental illness, visit the Arizona Psychiatric Society's website.