Youth Pastor Accused In Triple Homicide Of Family On Thanksgiving

“He thought it was a firecracker. I know it wasn’t."

A youth pastor was arrested in Virginia on charges that he killed three family members on Thanksgiving night, The Washington Post reported.

Christopher R. Gattis, 58, was charged with three counts of murder after his wife, stepdaughter, and his stepdaughter’s boyfriend were found dead by police at 11 p.m. on Thursday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  

Wife Jeannett L. Gattis, 58, and stepdaughter Candice L. Kunze, 30, were found fatally shot inside the home, while the boyfriend, Andrew E. Buthorn, 36, was reportedly found dead in the front yard.

Christopher Gattis was reportedly a youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, which released a statement about the deaths.

“Members of Grace Lutheran Church are deeply saddened by the loss of life Thursday 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,” it continued. “Grace Lutheran Church asks for the prayers from the community as our congregation begins the process of addressing the grief being experienced by everyone involved.”

Police are investigating the triple homicide as domestic violence, the Times-Dispatch said.

A neighbor of Gattis’s in the quiet cul-de-sac said he heard shots as the incident was taking place.

“I heard a bang,” said one neighbor, Darius Williams, who was watching his 10-year-old nephew at the time of the deaths.

“He thought it was a firecracker,” Williams said. “I know it wasn’t. I heard a second one. I didn’t see nothing, so I didn’t think much of it.”

Oxygen's returning series "Homicide For The Holidays" recalls similar tragic holiday stories, airing Saturdays at 6/5c.

[Image: Chesterfield County Police]

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