5 Dead in 2 Louisiana Mass Shootings; Suspect Arrested in Virginia
Dakota Theriot, 21, was caught at his grandmother’s house; victims include his parents and possible girlfriend.
GONZALES, LA — A 21-year-old Louisiana man wanted for two shooting incidents on Saturday that left five dead — including the suspect’s parents — was apprehended on Sunday morning at his grandmother’s home in Virginia.
Authorities arrested Dakota Theriot at gunpoint and transported him back to Louisiana where he was booked on multiple counts of first-degree murder, home invasion, and weapons violations.
Theriot is accused of fatally shooting Billy Ernest, 43; his daughter Summer, 20; and son Tanner inside their Livingston Parish residence early Saturday morning. From there, investigators allege, Theriot drove to his parents’ mobile home and shot his 51-year-old parents Keith and Elizabeth Theriot.
Police later discovered the couple with gunshot wounds, and Keith identified Dakota as the shooter before dying on the scene. Elizabeth died shortly thereafter.
Amid reports of the shootings and the hunt for Theriot, the suspect’s grandmother checked into a hotel, fearing he might come to her home next. She was right. The grandmother asked police to check her residence the next morning and, indeed, officers encountered the fugitive.
Richmond County Sheriff Stephan Smith said: “While deputies were on site, Theriot arrived at the residence in a motor vehicle with a firearm pointed out of the window. The deputies sought cover and challenged Theriot, who then dropped the firearm upon their commands and was taken into custody without incident.”
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said Theriot had recently been in a romantic relationship with Summer Ernest, but the suspect had no police records of consequence and “no red flags” had gone up about him being violent.
Charlene Bordelon, the Ernests’ neighbor, said the two youngest members of the family — a seven-year-old and a one-year-old — fled to her home after the shooting. The children were not wounded. Upon the seven-year-old revealing what happened, Bordelon said she immediately dialed 911.
Kim Mincks and Jacob Chastant, neighbors of the Theriots, told reporters that Dakota had struggled with drug addiction and had recently clashed with his father. According to Mincks, "We know [Dakota] had a drug problem. He got kicked out last Monday because of the drug problem. His dad kicked him out of here. He did have a violent streak. I think the drugs just took over.”
Crystal DeYoung, sister of victim Billy Ernest, said she believes Theriot had only recently begun dating her niece, Summer. DeYoung added of the suspect, “My family met him last weekend at a birthday party and didn't get good vibes from him.”
As authorities continue to piece together what happened, Sheriff Jason Ard reiterates, “We have no motive at this time.”
Read more: CBS News, CNN, WJLA, The Advocate