Locals and church members in Chester, Va., awoke to news Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, that a youth pastor was arrested after his wife, stepdaughter and his stepdaughter’s boyfriend were found shot to the death at the family’s home.
Christopher Gattis, 58, now faces three counts of first-degree murder and more for allegedly shooting his wife Jeanett Gattis, 58, her daughter Candice Kunze, 30, and Andrew Buthorn, 36, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
Early reports say that all four lived in the home together and that the stepdaughter moved back in six weeks ago with her boyfriend. We do not yet know the motive behind the slayings.
One said that he thought the shooting was actually “firecrackers” and that he “didn’t think much of it” at the time.
Neighbors Larry and Chris Patton, who moved into a home on the cul-de-sac two years ago, described the Gattieses as “good people” and they even said Christopher Gattis would “do anything for you.”
“They were good people. He’d do anything for you. He was always quick to laugh. He had a hearty laugh,” they told the Times-Dispatch. “They welcomed us to the neighborhood. It’s just sad that their Thanksgiving ended that way.”
The church where Gattis was a youth pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, released a statement conveying its deep sorrow.
“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 said.
Gattis is being held without bond.
This wasn’t the only tragedy to occur on Thanksgiving.
Adrian Scott, 34, of Ohio was killed in a drive-by shooting as she cooked Thanksgiving dinner.
“It’s just a bad day for the family on any day,” Sgt. Stan Latta of the Columbus police homicide unit said of the crime. “The only thing I would think is every Thanksgiving they’ll probably think about this.”
The same is true for the Gattises’ extended family, friends, neighbors, church and community.