What led to Christopher Gattis a Virginia youth pastor murdering three family members during Thanksgiving at the family home?
Gattis, 58 was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Killed were Jeanett Gattis, 58, her daughter, 30-year-old Candice Kunze, and Kunze’s boyfriend, 36-year-old Andrew Buthorn.
All three victims died of gunshot wounds that had sprung out just before midnight. Officials said both women’s bodies were found inside the home and that the man’s body was found in the front yard.
Gattis was arrested at the scene reported NBC 12.
The suspect was identified as being a youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church.
A 911 call described the following havoc, ‘I have one detained; be advised he shot three people…I got one male subject on the ground. He’s got two gunshots to the stomach…Sir, we have two females down in the kitchen.’
Authorities said the women’s bodies were found inside the home and the man’s body was found in the front yard.
Christopher Gattis Virginia youth pastor described as a gentle man:
In the aftermath of the shooting, neighbors described residents of the Dogwood Ridge Court block in the Ashley Forrest subdivision as members of a tight-knit community.
‘We were all friends,’ neighbor Mike Brown said of the suspect and his family, going on to describe the suspect as a ‘gentle man’.
‘We hang out sometimes [and] cook out in the back,’ he told WTVR. ‘I mean every time I see them, they’re always the same way. [I] had no clue that they were having problems that I knew of, but behind closed doors is behind closed doors.’
A church deacon described Gattis as ‘an excellent man.’
Meanwhile, members of the parish expressed their mourning message after learning of the community deaths.
Read a statement, ‘Members of Grace Lutheran Church are deeply saddened by the loss of life last night as a result of three individuals being shot in Chester and this tragedy included members of Grace Lutheran Church’.
‘Grace Lutheran Church has experienced many hardships over the years, but this heartbreak has unique challenges.
‘[We] ask for the prayers from the community as our congregation begins the process of addressing the grief being experienced by everyone involved.’
People who knew the Gattis family expressed shock and grief on Facebook. ‘…know the family and am in shock! Chris was always nice and soft spoken and seemed very happy with Jeanett when I last saw them a couple years ago. I’m praying for all involved!’ wrote one woman.
While another wrote, ‘I knew Chris and have recently worked with him on some ministry projects together. He seemed like a good natured man who loved God, his family and his youth group. Just so hard to make sense of how Chris could do such a thing? Sadly you never know what is going on behind closed doors.’
To date police have offered no motive for the reason, but initial speculation centers on the notion that the shooting may have as the result of a ‘domestic dispute’.
Gattis is being held without bond at the Chesterfield County Jail.