Family and friends mourn the loss of two Kennewick children

Family and friends mourn the loss of two Kennewick children »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- KEPR is continuing to follow the tragic deaths of a brother and sister in west Kennewick. The fatal shooting in Hansen Park left 12-year-old Ethan Austin and 16-year-old Kaitlin Austin dead. We still don't know how exactly the half-siblings died, but police say there was a gun involved.

Bree Nece recently moved to a home on the street of an active crime scene. She came from San Diego, and she has two young boys.

"I'm shocked," she said. "I'm a mother of two young boys and it's sad, it's very sad. I mean, things like this happen anywhere, and even great neighborhoods like this."

Just a few houses down from Bree's, a man found his son and stepdaughter, 12-year-old Ethan Austin and 16-year-old Kate Austin.

"I don't know how to explain that, as a parent," Bree said. "The feeling that he's feeling right now, and shock, definitely, and I'm shaking and it's sad. I feel for them so bad right now."

Police say multiple gunshot wounds were visible and a gun was found beside the two bodies. It is unclear if this is a murder-suicide, but officers are not looking for any suspects.

"I'm praying for their family and it's very sad," said Bree. "I couldn't imagine being a mother and finding that."

Kate was a junior at Kamiakin High School. Ethan was a sixth-grader at Desert Hills Middle School.

Lindsey Koehler is a freshman at Kamiakin. She said the devastated mood was felt throughout the halls and classrooms. Kate's best friend started off the day with a huge group prayer in the parking lot.

"We've been testing all day, but you can still feel how dramatic everything is," Lindsey said. "Everybody's just been trying to remember the god things about her and talking about her a lot."

Lindsey wasn't great friends with Kate, but she had not one bad word to say about her.

"Whenever I saw her, she was always really happy," she said. "She would just brighten everybody's day."

Autopsies will be conducted Wednesday morning. Family and friends hope to receive a little bit of closure for their heart-wrenching loss.

Two vigils will be held Tuesday night. One will begin at 5:30 and the second one at 8 at Kennewick First Presbyterian Church on West Kennewick Avenue.