Police hunt for man accused of killing his parents and three others

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By Phil McCausland  with NBC News U.S. News
Image: Dakota Theriot
Dakota Theriot is wanted for two counts first-degree-murder, illegal use of weapons, and home invasion.   -   Copyright  Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office

A manhunt is underway for a Louisiana man suspected of a Saturday morning killing spree that has left five people dead, including his two parents.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's office is searching for Dakota Theriot, 21, who police suspect of shooting and killing his parents, married couple Elizabeth and Keith Theriot, both 51, about 25 miles southwest of Baton Rouge.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said that Keith Theriot told officers, who responded to an incident at their trailer at approximately 8:45 a.m. CST, that he and his wife had been shot by their son Dakota. The parents were then airlifted to a hospital in Baton Rouge where they later died.

"This is probably one of the worst domestic violence incidents I've seen in quite a while: for a young man to walk into a bedroom and kill his mother and his father and then kill friends in Livingston that he had a connection with," Webre said a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

Dakota Theriot is also accused of a triple homicide in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, about 30 miles northeast of his parents' trailer.

Ascension Parish Sheriff\'s Office
Dakota Theriot is wanted for two counts first-degree-murder, illegal use of weapons, and home invasion.Ascension Parish Sheriff\'s Office

Webre said that the suspect had lived with his parents for a time, but recently they had asked him to move out and not return. The sheriff did not know any background information about the young man's relationship with his parents.

The suspected gunman is now wanted on two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of illegal use of weapons and home invasion, the sheriff's office said.

A warrant for Theriot is also forthcoming, Webre said, for the killing of Billy Ernest, 43, Tanner Ernest, 17, and Summer Ernest, 20, at their home in Livingston Parish. Webre said that he is believed to be driving a 2004 Dodge 4-door pickup truck that is grey and silver, which they think he stole from the Ernest family.

Authorities believe that Theriot is now driving east toward Mississippi, Webre said.

"There's no reason for us to believe that there's anybody else who is a target, other than I will say he is an armed and dangerous guy: so anybody he comes in contact with could be a target," the sheriff said.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office and Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office are working together alongside the Louisiana State Police to locate Theriot.

"The good news is that we know who did this," Webre said, "and we will soon find this person and put him in jail where he belongs."