While many Americans enjoyed this past Thanksgiving holiday, having a wonderful meal with family and friends, some experienced what psychologist call a holiday family feud. Rather than enjoying time with the family, in some instances, getting all the family members who do not get along so well together can be a recipe for disaster. In one home in Chester, Virginia, the result was a gruesome murder of an entire family. And, he happened to be a pastor as well.
A family fight caused, what friends describe as a gentle, kind man to snap. The 58-year-old man, Christopher Gattis, was a youth pastor for the Grace Lutheran Church in Chester. He was the ministry’s coordinator for youth activities for middle school students and students in high school. He was well respected in the community.
The IB Times reported that the family ate the Thanksgiving meal together and then got into a serious fight. The family ran a local furniture store together and this meant they spent a lot of time in each other’s company. Christopher Gattis is accused of shooting his wife, who is also 58, his stepdaughter, Candice L. Kunze, who is 30 years old, and his stepdaughter’s boyfriend, Andrew E. Buthorn, age 36. All of them lived together in the same home.
After police found the body of Gattis stepdaughter’s boyfriend outside the home in the front yard and the bodies of the two dead women inside the house, Gattis was charged with three counts of both first-degree murder and using a firearm to commit a felony,
Neighbors were shocked. No one had any idea of any troubles between the family members. Gattis seemed like the last person in the world who would do such a thing as kill his entire family. Members of the church say that Gattis was an excellent man.
The New York Post reported that Gattis is in confinement in the Chesterfield County Jail under a suicide watch. He was denied bail. Gattis will appear in the General District Court of the State of Virginia on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, and in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017.