ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KTVI) — New details are emerging in the case of a St. Louis-area man who police say shot to death his girlfriend, her two young children and her mother in the home they all shared. He exchanged gunfire with officers as he fled and was captured several hours later in a convenience store, covered in blood and wounded.
According to our St. Louis affiliate KTVI Fox2 Now, the murders occurred just before midnight on Whetstone Drive in St. Charles, a suburb of St. Louis. Officers with the St. Charles Police Department arrived on the scene of a shooting call and found a white Chevrolet Silverado running in the driveway. A man got into the pickup and left, and officers passed on the vehicle’s description to their colleagues, who spotted it a few miles away.
Officers stopped the pickup, which they say was driven by Richard Darren Emery, 46, of St. Charles. Emery got out of the pickup with a handgun an shot at officers, striking the police vehicle 8 times. Officers returned fire as Emery fled into a wooded area, they said.
Meanwhile, officers at the house entered and found four people shot. Three died at the scene and the fourth was critical and later died at the hospital.
Police have identified the victims as 8-year-old Zoe J. Kasten, 10-year-old Jonathan D. Kasten, 39-year-old Kate Kasten and her 61-year-old mother and children’s grandmother Jane Moeckel.
Meanwhile, Emery attempted to carjack a woman, telling her, “I gotta get out of here!” He stabbed her in the torso several times but wasn’t able to take the vehicle. The woman gave police a description of Emery’s clothing before she was taken to the hospital for treatment. Police said she is expected to survive.
Police with the Major Case Squad were activated and were told that Emery was at a Quik Trip convenience store bleeding heavily. Officers arrived and took Emery into custody after they found him in a bathroom suffering from several gunshot wounds. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
While in custody at the hospital, police said Emery told him where he had gotten rid of the gun and knife used in his alleged crimes. Police were able to recover both weapons. During the conversation, detectives said Emery asked if the “lady” was OK. When the detective responded, “The lady you tried to carjack?” he said Emery replied, “yes.”
Later, detectives said Emery asked if any of the officers at the hospital were the ones he had shot at and whether he had hit them, and he apologized for shooting at them.
Prosecutors filed 15 charges against Richard Darren Emery of St. Charles, Missouri, including first-degree murder, assault, attempted robbery and armed criminal action.
Emery remained in a local hospital with two gunshot wounds that authorities said did not appear self-inflicted and most likely came from the shootout with officers. St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said investigators did not know the motive for the shootings as of Saturday evening.
“We may never know,” Lohmar said during a news conference. “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.”
St. Charles is a city of about 70,000 residents on the Missouri River northwest of St. Louis. Officials said it’s had of spate of deadly domestic violence incidents recently — with six deaths in the past eight days that Lohmar said are unrelated.
The initial call came to police came from inside the house, and Lohmar said investigators believe Moeckel made it.
“During that phone call, the 911 operator could hear gunshots in the background,” St. Charles Police Lt. Tom Wilkison said.
Each of the charges against Emery carries a possible penalty of 30 years to life in prison, Lohmar said, adding that more charges are possible and seeking the death penalty is an option under Missouri law.
“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,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.