Suspect in five Louisiana shooting deaths captured in Virginia
By Madeline Holcombe and Kelly McCleary, CNN
Updated at 10:04 AM ET, Sun January 27, 2019
(CNN) — Dakota Theriot, the man accused of killing five people in Louisiana, was captured Sunday morning in Richmond County, Virginia, according to a joint statement from the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office and the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.
Theriot, 21, was apprehended following a night on the run after being named a suspect in the shooting deaths of his parents, his girlfriend, and her father and brother in two separate shootings Saturday.
Elizabeth and Keith Theriot, both 50, were at their home near Baton Rouge when the suspect killed them, Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said.
When authorities arrived at the scene, Keith Theriot was still alive and told them his son shot them, authorities said.
Another crime scene 30 miles away
Dakota Theriot's girlfriend, Summer Ernest, and her relatives were found dead in a home 30 miles away. The dead included her father, Billy Ernest, 43, and her brother Tanner Ernest, 17, according to authorities.
Theriot was dating Summer and had lived with the Ernests for several weeks, Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said. He was recently asked to leave the residence and not return, according to authorities.
A 7-year old and a 1-year-old were found in the home, but were unharmed and are now with their mother.
Authorities believe the shootings stemmed from a "boyfriend [and] girlfriend type of dispute," CNN affiliate WAFB reported.
"This is probably one of the worst domestic violence incidents I've seen in quite a while," Webre said. "For a young man to walk into a bedroom and kill his mother and his father, and then kill friends in Livingston that he had a connection with."
There were no red flags ahead of the two shootings Saturday morning and other than a simple possession of drug paraphernalia charge, Theriot had no other run-ins with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, Ard said.
Theriot had last been seen driving a gray and silver 2004 Dodge pickup truck belonged to the Ernest family, authorities said.
Theriot will be taken back to Ascension Parish, Louisiana, and booked on two counts of first-degree murder, home invasion and illegal use of weapons, investigators said Sunday.
It’s in Portuguese, and I can only slightly read Spanish, but the attackers have been confirmed as Luiz Henrique de Castro, 26, and a 16 year old. I’m struggling to find the younger ones name.@Null Another one!
In my area, there was a really friendly big gay bear of a guy who worked at a grocery store I frequented. He invited two homeless guys to his home for drinks, and they decided to slit his throat. He survived, but his injuries screwed him over financially, so he wound up homeless. Then there was a pathetic loner at a rave that some scene kids took pity on so they invited him to their after party. He repaid them by killing several of them. There was a cafe with a tightknit community that tried to take in a total psychopath of a dude until finally they could no longer tolerate what a piece of shit he was, so they banned him from the place. He took revenge by showing up one day and, again, killed several of them. I also recently read about a guy who was beaten to death by a homeless dude he was trying to help by giving him a place to stay. The murderer fled to Canada, trooned out, and is now trying to use his troon status to avoid extradition.Update about Dakota Theriot--
‘My babies died for nothing’: Louisiana shooting that killed 5 leaves family broken
After Dakota Theriot lost a place to stay a couple of weeks ago, a family took him in.
A new friend, Summer Ernest, allowed him to stay in her father’s Louisiana home, not far from Baton Rouge. That’s just how Summer was, her cousin said, loving and caring to someone in need of help.
But violence devastated the Ernest family this weekend, after the young man they barely knew allegedly went on a shooting rampage and killed the people who helped him. Theriot then drove to his parents' trailer in a neighboring county and killed them, too, authorities said.
The 21-year-old drove away, setting off a day-long manhunt that spanned multiple states. He was arrested more than 1,000 miles to the northeast, in rural Virginia, on Sunday morning.
“For someone to do that, someone so young, someone connected to his victims, the fact that the family took him in and this is the end result, it’s kind of jarring for all of us,” said Lori Steele, a spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities said they do not know why Theriot, who had been arrested for minor drug possession but has no history of violent crimes, resorted to such violence. They said his parents kicked him out of their trailer a couple of weeks ago, but they do not know why or whether he had been estranged from his family.
Investigators also have not said what type of weapon Theriot used or how he obtained it.
The rampage began shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, when authorities in Livingston Parish, east of Baton Rouge, received a 911 call about three victims who had been shot, Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said. Killed were Summer Ernest, 20; her father, Billy Ernest, 43, and her younger brother, Tanner Ernest, 17.
Ard said there were two children inside the home, ages 7 and 1. They were not harmed.
Theriot then stole Billy Ernest’s 2004 Dodge pickup truck and drove to Ascension Parish, about 30 miles away, and shot his parents, Elizabeth and Keith Theriot, both 50, inside their trailer, authorities said.
Before he died, Keith Theriot told officers that his son had shot him, Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre told reporters at a news conference Saturday night.
After the shooting, Theriot drove for 16 hours overnight to Warsaw, Va., where some of his relatives live, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. Officials in Virginia had been warned of the slayings in Louisiana and that the suspect has family connections in the area.
Richmond County Sheriff Stephan Smith was not available for comment Sunday, but he told the Advocate that Theriot drove to his grandmother’s home in Warsaw. The grandmother and other family members had moved to a hotel in case Theriot tried to contact them.
When Theriot arrived early Sunday in Billy Ernest’s Dodge truck with a gun pointed out the window, deputies were at the house, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. Theriot later surrendered.
Smith told the Advocate that Theriot seemed tired and made statements about the slayings. He will face five counts of first-degree murder, among other charges.
Authorities had described Summer Ernest as Theriot’s girlfriend and said the two had just started dating. But Paul Hays, Jr., Summer’s cousin, said that wasn’t true and that Summer had just gotten out of a long-term relationship with someone else. He said that the two became friends only recently and that the family just met Theriot at a birthday party last weekend.
“To the whole family, he was a stranger,” Hays said.
Summer was simply trying to help a friend who had lost a home, he added.
“The whole family is very loving. We’re a close Christian family. We’re always on the phone with each other, telling each other we love each other. We’re a tight family,” Hays said, adding later: “We’re praying for his family, too.”
“We’re really torn apart. Still can’t believe it’s real even though we got national news going into our driveways,” Hays said. “This is really happening. We’re never really going to see them again.”
A GoFundMe page has been created on behalf of Summer and Tanner Ernest’s mother, Rhonda Champagne.
“My babies died for nothing,” Champagne told reporters at a family member’s home Sunday, according to ABC affiliate WBRZ. “Their daddy died for nothing. For what?”
This post has been updated.
- The report that the perp and the victim were dating is now disputed. Dakota and Summer were not only not dating, but they didn't know each other too well. Summer's family took him in because Summer felt bad for him.
- Dakota showed up at his grandma's house in Virginia, with his gun hanging out the window, like he was planning on killing her next.