Virginia youth pastor charged in Thanksgiving Day triple homicide

Christopher Gattis (Provided Photo/Chesterfield Police)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Police in Chesterfield County are investigating a domestic-related homicide after three people were found murdered at a home in Chester on Thanksgiving night.

Police tell WISH-TV’s sister station WRIC they responded to an alarm call in the 14900 block of Dogwood Ridge Court around 11:30 p.m. When they arrived, officers found a man dead in the front yard of a home. They also found two women dead inside the house.

The victims have been identified as 36-year-old Andrew E. Buthorn, 58-year-old Jeanett L. Gattis and 30-year-old Candice L. Kunze. Police say all three victims were shot to death.

The suspect, 58-year-old Christopher R. Gattis, was located at the scene and arrested without incident.

WRIC has received the following statement from a representative of Radford university where Candice Kunze was a graduate student.

Chief Communications Officer Joe Carpenter said in an emailed statement, “Candice (Candy) Kunze was a 2016 graduate of the Radford University’s doctor of physical therapy program.  The Radford University family is deeply saddened by this loss and we express our deepest sympathies to Candy’s family, friends and fellow Radford University alumni during their time of need.”

Police said Jeanett Gattis is the suspect’s wife and that Kunze was her daughter. Buthorn is believed to be Kunze’s boyfriend.

Jeanett Gattis worked at Napier Realtors for 15 years.

“Jeanett was a dedicated, hard working member of our real estate family and her passing has left us in a state of shock and sadness,” the business said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all the victims.”

Gattis was active in the Grace Lutheran Church, serving as a middle school and high school youth ministries coordinator. The church issued the following statement:

“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 members of the family directly affected by this tragedy have requested their privacy be respected and they not be contacted by the media for comment.”

Police have charged Gattis with three counts of first degree murder and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is being held without bond at Chesterfield County Jail. He will appear in court on November 27.

Police continue their investigation into this incident. Anyone with information should contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.