Dakota Theriot, 21, will face charges for allegedly shooting his parents as well as three members of another family that took him in, say authorities

By Jeff Truesdell
January 28, 2019 04:41 PM
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Credit: GoFundMe

A mourning Louisiana mom says her “babies died for nothing” after a 21-year-old man allegedly killed her daughter, son and three others in a shooting rampage before he was arrested more than 1,000 miles away in Virginia.

The alleged gunman, Dakota Theriot, is also suspected of murdering his parents. When he was finally stopped outside of a relative’s Virginia home, he was allegedly spotted “with a firearm pointed out of the window,” reports the Richmond County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office.

The Virginia authorities had been alerted — and Theriot’s grandmother there had gone into hiding — after the murders Saturday morning at two locations in Louisiana, according to The Advocate newspaper.

Summer Ernest, 20, her brother Tanner Ernest, 17, and the siblings’ father Billy Ernest, 43, were killed at their home in Walker, at which Theriot had recently been staying. Two children ages 1 and 7 were inside the home but unharmed, authorities said.

Then, 30 miles away in Ascension Parish, Theriot allegedly fatally shot and killed his parents, Elizabeth and Keith Theriot, both 50, inside their trailer.

Theriot allegedly fled to Virginia in Billy Ernest’s 2004 gray-over-silver Dodge pickup, authorities said.

Louisiana Shooting, Livingston, USA - 27 Jan 2019
Dakota Theriot
| Credit: AP/REX/Shutterstock

Rhonda Champagne, the mother of Summer and Tanner Ernest, said “my babies died for nothing. Their daddy died for nothing. For what?,” reports Baton Rouge TV station WBRZ.

On a GoFundMe page seeking donations toward funeral expenses, she wrote: “I wasn’t prepared for this … my children taken from me … my prayers and thoughts with every life my children touched … I pray they were a blessing and I thank everyone who was a blessing to them.”

By Monday afternoon that campaign had collected more than $11,000 in pledges toward a $25,000 goal.

Theriot had been taken in by the Ernest family after his parents recently had kicked him out, authorities said.

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Billy Ernest
| Credit: Facebook

“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, reports The Washington Post.

Initially, the sheriff’s office characterized Summer as the suspect’s girlfriend, but her cousin, Paul Hays Jr., disputed this, telling the Post the pair had met only a week earlier and the Ernest family was only offering help to someone in need. “To the whole family, he was a stranger,” Hays said.

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Keith, at left, and Elizabeth Theriot
| Credit: Facebook

The weapon used in both attacks was a handgun, authorities said at the news conference.

Authorities have not revealed a motive, and said their only prior run-in with the suspect had involved a misdemeanor charge for possessing drug paraphernalia.

Authorities in Louisiana said Theriot would face charges alleging five counts of murder and one count of vehicle theft. He currently is being held in Virginia as a fugitive from justice with no bond pending extradition back to Louisiana, PEOPLE confirms.

It could not be determined if an attorney had been named to represent him.