Fox News reports that Christopher Gattis, 58, of Virginia has been arrested and charged with three counts of first degree murder after allegedly fatally shooting his wife, stepdaughter and the stepdaughter’s boyfriend on Thanksgiving Day.
Gattis, a youth pastor, was also charged with three counts of “using a firearm in the commission of a felony,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Fox states that the bodies of the women were found in the Chester, Virginia home and the body of the man in the front yard at approximately 11:30 p.m.
The victims have been identified as Jeanett Gattis, 58; Candice Kunze, 30; and Andrew Buthorn, 36. The three lived in the same home with Christopher Gattis according to police.
According to the Richmond-Times Dispatch, the family ran a furniture store in Petersburg, Virginia. Kunze recently moved back to the area from Oregon and Buthorn accompanied her. Authorities have told the press that Gattis worked at Grace Lutheran Church as a youth pastor for middle and high school students.
Authorities believe the murders to be domestic in nature, but are still investigating the crimes, says U.S. News and World Report. Gattis is scheduled for an initial hearing on Monday in General District Court and is currently being held without bond in the county jail.
Grace Lutheran Church posted the following on its website: “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.” The church made no reference to Gattis by name or his apparent role at the church.
Neighbors told local news outlet WTVR that they knew Gattis and the victims well. Neighbor Mike Brown said, “We were all friends. We hang out sometimes and cook out in the back. 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 motive for the murders has yet to be determined.
The Washington Post reports that no public records state any evidence showing that Gattis was employed by Grace Lutheran Church. However, a Facebook profile for a man by the same name lists his occupation as Director of Youth Ministry since 2014. The Post writes that the profile photos of the Gattis found on Facebook does resemble the booking photographs of the suspect.
*Photo credit Chesterfield County Police