Virginia pastor charged in Thanksgiving Day killing of his family

(Reuters) - A Virginia youth pastor remained in jail Saturday after being charged in the Thanksgiving night shooting deaths of his wife, stepdaughter and the stepdaughter's boyfriend, police said.

Christopher Gattis, 58, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, Sergeant P.H. Zoffuto of Chesterfield County Police said in a statement issued Friday.

Police said Jeanett Gattis, 58; her daughter Candice Kunze, 30; and Andrew Buthorn, 36, who was Kunze's boyfriend, were shot to death at the home in Chester that they shared with Gattis shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The incident appeared to be domestic in nature, police said, but they were still investigating.

Gattis was a youth pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Chester, according to Gattis' Facebook page. Chester is a suburb of Richmond, Virginia.

“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 posted on its website.

Gattis was being held in county jail with no bond, police said. He is scheduled to appear in General District Court on Monday.


(Reporting by Chris Kenning in Louisville; Editing by Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler)