A Virginia youth pastor has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Christopher Gattis, 58, stands accused of shooting his wife Jeanett, 58, her daughter Candis Kunze, 30, and Kunze’s boyfriend Andrew Buthorn, 36.
Authorities arrived at the family’s home at 11:30 PM on Thanksgiving night. They found Buthorn lying in the front yard with two bullet wounds in his abdomen. As they entered the home, they discovered the mother and daughter in the kitchen.
The tragedy shocked the congregation at Grace Lutheran Church, where Gattis served as youth director since 2014. The church said in a statement released Friday, “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."
"Grace Lutheran Church has experienced many hardships over the years, but this heartbreak has unique challenges. 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," the statement continued.
Newspaper reports described neighbors in shock and dismay at the gruesome scene. Neighbors said the family was open and welcoming, often inviting them over to cook out or share a glass of wine. They said they saw no signs of trouble between the couple.
Christopher and Jeanett Gattis marred in 2008 and Kunze moved in with them in October after living in Oregon. Buthorn moved back with her and was living with the Gattises as well.
Police in Chesterfield County are continuing to investigate while Gattis is held without bail pending a hearing on Monday. They have not established a motive for the shooting and are encouraging anyone with information to contact them.
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Publication date: November 27, 2017