Missouri man fatally shoots girlfriend, her kids, her mother A man from the St. Louis area shot dead his girlfriend, his two young children and his mother in the house they all shared, authorities said Saturday. He exchanged shots with the officers while fleeing and was captured several hours later in a convenience store, covered in blood and wounded.
Prosecutors filed 15 counts against Richard Darren Emery of St. Charles, Missouri, including first-degree murder, assault and attempted robbery. Authorities said Emery, 46, left his own van and tried unsuccessfully to steal a woman’s car while fleeing, attacking her as well.
Emery remained in a local hospital with two bullet wounds that, according to the authorities, did not appear to be self-inflicted and probably stemmed from the shooting with the officers. St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Lohmar said investigators did not know the reason for the shootings Saturday night.
“We may never know,” Lohmar said during a press conference. “This particular one was the worst example of a case of domestic violence, every time you have a case of domestic violence you worry about the safety of the victim and this would be your worst nightmare.”
St. Charles is a city of approximately 70,000 residents on the Missouri River northwest of St. Louis. Authorities said there have been a series of deadly incidents of domestic violence recently, with six deaths in the past eight days that Lohmar said are unrelated.
Authorities said police received a call just before midnight on Friday about a shooting in the house where Emery and the victims lived. Lohmar said agents later found three victims killed by gunshot wounds in a dormitory. They were Zoe Kasten, 8 years old; his brother, Jonathan Kasten, 10 years old; and his grandmother, Jane Moeckel, 61 years old.
Officers found the fourth victim, a 39-year-old woman, in the main bedroom of the house, who suffered gunshot wounds but was still alive, Lohmar said. They took her to a hospital in the area, where she died.
The authorities did not name the fourth victim, but they described her as the mother of the children, the daughter of the older woman and Emery’s girlfriend.
The initial call to the police came from inside the house, and Lohmar said the investigators believe that Moeckel succeeded.
“During that phone call, the 911 operator could hear gunfire in the background,” said St. Charles police Lt. Tom Wilkison.
Lohmar said that Emery tried to flee in his truck and was stopped by a police car. He and the officers exchanged gunfire, and fled on foot.
Authorities described his attempt to steal another vehicle as a carjacking and said he stabbed his female driver seven times. They said their injuries were not life threatening.
The area is wooded and Lohmar said that Emery could elude the police in the dark. But when he sought refuge in the store bathroom a few miles away, an employee contacted the police, Lohmar said.
Each of the charges against Emery carries a possible penalty of 30 years to life imprisonment, Lohmar said, adding that more charges are possible and seeking the death penalty is an option under Missouri law.
“It is premature for us to make some sort of pronouncement on that at this time, but I can say that this looks and smells like a death penalty case,” he said.