Louisiana sheriff says suspect has confessed to killing five

This photo provided by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office shows Dakota Theriot on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. Authorities say a man suspected in two shootings that left five people dead in Louisiana has been arrested in Virginia. Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre and Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said in a statement that Theriot was arrested Sunday by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. (Richmond County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
By  | 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- The 21-year-old man accused of killing five people including his parents in a multi-parish shooting over the weekend before fleeing to his grandmother's house has confessed, authorities said Tuesday.

Dakota Theriot told authorities he used a gun he stole from his father, Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said at a news conference. He said while Theriot was cooperating and had provided authorities with a lot of information about what happened, they still haven't determined exactly why the killings happened.

"We don't really know what the motive is. We just know what he did," Ard said.

Authorities have said Theriot shot and killed three people - Summer Ernest, 20, the woman believed to be his girlfriend; along with Ernest's brother and father - in Livingston Parish, then drove her father's pickup truck to Ascension Parish, where he shot his parents. He then drove to his grandmother's house in Warsaw, Virginia, where he was arrested on Sunday morning, Ard and Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said.

Theriot is due in court on Friday in Virginia for an extradition hearing and will eventually be sent back to Louisiana to face multiple murder charges.

In addition to Summer Ernest, the victims have been identified as Billy Ernest, 43; Tanner Ernest, 17; and Theriot's parents, Keith Theriot and Elizabeth Theriot, both 50.

Summer Ernest and Dakota Theriot were in recent a relationship, and Theriot had been living with her family for a few weeks, Ard said.

Keith Theriot survived the shooting long enough to call 911, and when deputies arrived he told them just before he died that his son had shot him, the authorities said.

Theriot's grandmother in Warsaw, Virginia, had checked into a hotel Saturday night, fearing he might show up there, Richmond County Sheriff Stephan B. Smith said in a phone interview. The woman asked authorities to check her house Sunday morning to ensure it was safe before she returned.

While deputies were there, Smith said, Theriot drove up with a firearm pointed out the window of a pickup. A sheriff's statement said deputies sought cover and challenged Theriot, who then dropped the gun and was arrested without incident. Smith said the pickup Theriot drove apparently was the one taken in Louisiana.

Santana reported from New Orleans.