ST. Charles, Mo. – A man from the St. Louis area shot his girlfriend, two small children, and mother in the house they all shared, the authorities said. He exchanged the fire with the officers as he fled, and several hours later was taken prisoner in a supermarket with blood and wounds.
The prosecution filed 15 lawsuits against Richard Darren Emery of St. Charles, Missouri, including first-degree murder, assault and attempted robbery. The authorities said that 46-year-old Emery had given up his own pickup and was trying to steal a woman's car during the run and attack her as well.
Emery stayed in a local hospital with two gunshot wounds that were claimed to have not been self-inflicted and most likely to have come from shootings with officers. Charles Charles district attorney Tim Lohmar said the investigators did not know the motive for the shootings on Saturday night.
"In particular, this was the worst example of a domestic violence case, and if you have a case of domestic violence, worry about the victim's safety, and that would be your worst nightmare."
St. Charles is a city of about 70,000 on the Missouri River northwest of St. Louis. Officials said there had been a series of deadly domestic violence lately – with six dead in the last eight days, which Lohmar claimed had no connection.
Officials said the police received a phone call just before midnight on Friday for shooting in the house where Emery and the victim lived. Lohmar said officers later killed three victims in a bedroom with gunshot wounds. They were Zoe's box, 8; her brother Jonathan Kasten, 10; and her grandmother, Jane Moeckel, 61.
The officers found the fourth victim, a 39-year-old woman, in the main bedroom of the house, who suffers from gunshot wounds but is still alive, Lohmar said. She was taken to a hospital in the area where she died.
The authorities did not name the fourth victim, but described her as the mother of the children, the older woman's daughter and Emery's girlfriend.
The first call came out to the police, and Lohmar said the investigators believe Moeckel did it.
"During this call, the 911 operator was able to hear shots in the background," said St. Charles Police Lieutenant Tom Wilkison.
Lohmar tried to escape in his pickup and was stopped by a police car. He and the officers exchanged shots and he fled on foot.
The authorities described his attempt to steal another vehicle as a carjacking and said she had stung her driver seven times. They said their injuries were not life threatening.
The area is wooded and Lohmar said Emery can escape the police in the dark. However, when he sought refuge in the Convenience Store bathroom a few miles away, Lohmar, an employee, reported to the police.
Each of the charges against Emery carries a potential sentence of 30 years in jail, Lohmar added, adding that further charges are possible and the death penalty may be sought under Missouri's law.
"It's premature to make any kind of statement about it now, but I can tell you that this thing looks like a death penalty and smells a case," he said.
This version of the story corrects the direction of St. Charles of St. Louis in the second paragraph