Police are searching for an “armed and dangerous” 21-year-old man from Louisiana who they believe fatally shot his girlfriend, her father and her brother before driving 25 miles in a stolen pickup truck and killing both his parents in their trailer home. Authorities said Saturday evening he may be out of state now.
Dakota Theriot is wanted on multiple counts of first-degree murder, home invasion and weapons charges after the killing spree that began in Livingston Parish — just east of the state capital, Baton Rouge — and ended in Ascension Parish. Authorities said that deputies arrived at his parents’ home in time to interview his dying father, who identified his son as the shooter.
Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said during a press conference that dispatch received a call at about 8:45 a.m. about the two shootings, the victims of which were Theriot’s father, Keith Theriot, 51, and his wife Elizabeth Theriot, 51.
Shortly after the first call, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call at 9 a.m. about a homicide involving multiple victims. Those victims, according to a Facebook post from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, were Billy Ernest, 44, Summer Ernest, 21, and Tanner Ernest, 18.
Webre called the first incident a case of domestic violence and said that Dakota Theriot was recently asked to leave the residence and not return.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had anything of this magnitude when it comes to domestic violence,” Webre said during the press conference. “We don’t know the relationship between the father, the mother and the son at this time.”
Webre said the Ernests were not relatives of the suspect but appeared to know him.
The Ernest family’s two youngest children — ages 1 and 7 — were unharmed in the shooting. Neighbor Charlene Bordelon told The Advocate she called 911 after the children told her that their father, brother and sister were dead.
“She was terrified,” Bordelon said with tears in her eyes, of the little girl, the newspaper reported. “It’s so heartbreaking.”
Bordelon and her husband said moments before the children knocked on their door, they heard a truck speed from the home.
Crystal DeYoung, victim Billy Ernest’s sister, said in an interview with The Associated Press that she believes Theriot had just begun to date her niece, Summer Ernest — who was also killed.
“My family met him last weekend at a birthday party and didn’t get good vibes from him,” DeYoung told the AP. She said she wasn’t sure how her niece and Theriot met, but that she believed the relationship was relatively new.
“My mom is a good judge of character and she just thought he was not good,” DeYoung said of Theriot.
URGENT MANHUNT: A manhunt is underway in Louisiana for Dakota Theriot, a 21-year-old male suspect on the run and accused of killing five people including his own father; police say he's armed and dangerous. @TomLlamasABC reports. #TheIndex https://t.co/sZkKoIoG4e pic.twitter.com/4y3H7SziRv
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 27, 2019
DeYoung said she skipped the birthday party and didn’t meet Theriot herself.
She identified victims Summer and Tanner Ernest as two of Billy’s three children. He was also raising his wife’s children.
Webre said Theriot is driving a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck — gray on top and silver on the bottom — that was reported stolen. He said it is believed that the truck belonged to the victims in Livingston, that Theriot had a connection to them and that he knew them well.
Webre added that although Theriot doesn’t seem to be targeting anyone else, he is “an armed and dangerous guy, so anybody who he comes in contact with could be a target.”
“I would not approach this vehicle,” he cautioned the public. “We feel no doubt that Dakota is going to be armed and dangerous, and we need to bring him to justice really quick,” Webre said.
Theriot is suspected to be traveling toward Mississippi.
In a previous run-in with the law in 2017, Theriot was asked to exit his vehicle during a traffic stop but instead drove off, throwing suspected marijuana out of the vehicle. When he was arrested, police found marijuana and paraphernalia in his possession, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to call 225-686-2241 x1 or Crime Stoppers at (225)344-STOP (7867).