A full time youth pastor has allegedly shot dead his own wife, his step-daughter and her boyfriend on Thanksgiving day in the USA.
Christopher R. Gattis, a 58-year-old, a full time youth pastor from Virginia has been arrested for committing horrific crimes.
The man was arrested on Thanksgiving night after he allegedly killed three people, police say.
According to Daily Mail UK, Christopher R. Gattis, 58, was found at the Chester home when officers reported to the scene where his wife, Jeanett Gattis, 58, her daughter, Candice Kunze, 30 and the daughter’s boyfriend, Andrew Buthorn, 36, were shot dead.
Startled neighbors heard the gunshots just before midnight.
When officers scoped the scene, they discovered the women’s bodies inside the home and the man’s, in the front yard.
The suspect was a full-time cleric at Grace Lutheran Church on Harrowgate Road, according to his Facebook page.
‘This incident appears to be domestic related,’ Chesterfield Police Sgt. P.H. Zoffuto confirmed in a news release Friday.
A neighbor and friend to the pastor described the suspect as ‘a gentle man,’ local WTRV reported.
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 church deacon, in disbelief of the horrific news, said Gattis was ‘an excellent man.’
Meanwhile, members of the parish expressed their mourning message after learning of the community deaths.
‘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 statement read.
‘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.’
The pastor has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He is being held without bond in the Chesterfield County Jail.
‘It’s just sad that their Thanksgiving ended that way,’ said family friend, Larry Patton.
The holiday murder investigation is underway.