Richard Darren Emery is seen above in his mugshot
Prosecutors say a St. Louis-area man charged with fatally shooting his girlfriend, her two young children and her mother could face the death penalty once the investigation is complete.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that authorities are still investigating what led to the shooting late Friday. Richard Darren Emery of St. Charles, Missouri, is facing 15 charges, including first-degree murder.
Emery, who often goes by his middle name Darren, exchanged gunfire with officers as he fled. He was captured several hours later – wounded and covered in blood.
St. Charles is a city of about 70,000 residents on the Missouri River northwest of St. Louis.
A candlelight vigil was planned Sunday evening to honor the victims: 61-year-old Jane Moeckel, 39-year-old Kate Kasten, eight-year-old Zoe Kasten and 10-year-old Jonathan Kasten.
Richard Darren Emery, 46, shot dead his girlfriend Kate Kasten, 39, at her St Louis, Missouri home Friday night
Emery also killed Kate’s daughter Zoe Kasten, 8; her brother, Jonathan Kasten, 10, and their grandmother, Jane Moeckel, 61 (not pictured)
The motive for the slayings was unclear.
Calling the incident ‘horrific’, CBS News reported St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said during a news conference: ‘What can possess someone to take the life of a child, is beyond on me – and we may never know.
‘This one in particular was the worst example of a domestic violence case. Anytime you have a domestic violence case you worry about the safety of the victim, and this would be your worst nightmare.’
Emery could face 30 years to life in prison for his crimes which include first-degree murder.
‘It’s premature for us to make any sort of pronouncement about that right now, but I can tell you this thing looks and smells like a death penalty case,’ Lohmar added.
The children’s father Kory Kasten passed away after losing his battle with cancer last summer.
Cops did not know the motive for the slayings as of Saturday, they said in a press conference
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said during a news conference Saturday: ‘This one in particular was the worst example of a domestic violence case’
Four people were fatally shot inside a home in St Charles, Missouri, (pictured) on Friday night before the suspected gunman fled on foot, sparking a seven-hour manhunt
His aunt Diane Kasten posted a tribute to the family on Saturday.
‘My beloved nephew, Kory, with the family he loved so much,’ she posted on Facebook alongside a snap of her late family. ‘All stolen from us – Kory by cancer, and now Kate, Jonathan, and Zoe, by a man with a gun. I will miss you all everyday for the rest of my life. There are no words.’
Three victims were found dead inside the home in the suburb of about 70,000 people on the Missouri River northwest of St Louis.
Kate Kasten was taken to a local hospital and died there, according to St Charles Police Lt Tom Wilkison.
Police stopped Emery as he tried to drive away from the home, and a short gun battle followed.
The late husband of Kate Kasten is pictured left in a Facebook tribute from his aunt Diane Kasten on Saturday. She captioned the image: ‘All stolen from us – Kory by cancer, and now Kate, Jonathan, and Zoe, by a man with a gun. I will miss you all everyday for the rest of my life’
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said during a news conference: ‘What can possess someone to take the life of a child, is beyond on me – and we may never know’
Emery was expected to be transferred to jail from hospital after he sustained injuries when exchanging fire with cops