A holiday meant to bring families together ended in horror. Christopher R. Gattis was arrested on Thanksgiving, accused of killing his wife and her 30-year-old daughter!
When police arrived at Christopher R. Gattis’s home in the Ashley Forrest subdivision of Chester, Virginia on Nov. 23, what they found was blood-chilling. The authorities, who were responding to a report of a gun going off, found the bodies of 58-year-old Jeanett L. Gattis and Candice L. Kunze, 30, inside the home, according to WTVR, while Candice’s 36-year-old boyfriend, Andrew E. Buthorn, was found dead in the front yard. The authorities quickly arrested Christopher, taking him into custody without incident.
As to what could have possible drove Christopher to allegedly murder his family, the motive behind this shooting wasn’t immediately made known. Sgt. P.H. Zoffuto of the Chesterfield Police said this “incident appears to be domestic related” in a statement. Christopher is being held without bond at Chesterfield County Jail, charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Prior to this incident, he was charged with public intoxication in 2010, according to WTVR, but the charge was waived. He was also charged with assault and battering in 2012, but that charge was also dismissed. Friends of the couple sent WTVR a photo of Jeanett and Christopher at their 40th high school reunion from a few months ago, as they posed hugging and smiling for the camera. It’s hard to believe that a few months after that night, she would be dead and he would be in jail.
Before this ugly attack, Christopher was a full-time youth pastor at the Grace Lutheran Church. A deacon for the church told WTVR that Christopher was an “excellent man” and that they were in disbelief over these allegations. “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 in a statement. “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.”
“We were all friends. We hang out sometimes [and] cook out in the back,” Mike Brown, a neighbor of the family, said in the wake of this Thanksgiving killing. “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.”
Our thoughts are with the family, friends and loved ones of those killed in this tragedy.