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On January 26, 2019, Dakota Theriot allegedly shot his parents and three other people to death in Ascension and Livingston parishes, in the U.S. state of Louisiana.

January 2019 Louisiana shootings
LocationAscension and Livingston parishes, Louisiana
DateJanuary 26, 2019
Attack type
  • Mass shooting
  • domestic violence
AccusedDakota Theriot


A few weeks prior to the incident Theriot was taken in by his girlfriend's family, after being kicked out by his own parents.[1] Investigators claim that Theriot killed three victims in Livingston Parish before he stole a truck and drove to the neighboring county and shot and killed his parents.[2] The victims in Livingston Parish were Billy Ernest, aged 43, Summer Ernest, aged 20, and Tanner Ernest, aged 17; Elizabeth and Keith Theriot, both in their early fifties, were killed in Gonzales.[3] The neighbor of the Ernest family told reporters that the two surviving Ernest children; aged 7 and 1 years old, ran to her home to call 9-1-1 and were unharmed in the incident.[4] Police found both Elizabeth and Keith Theriot alive at their house after Keith called 911. Keith reportedly identified his son as the shooter. The couple later died at the hospital.[2]


Due to the details provided by Theriot's parents before they passed away, the main suspect was identified as Dakota Theriot. He was identified as having prior brushes with the law and short involuntary mental health stays. Friends and family have claimed that he reported hearing voices, threatened to burn down his parents’ home, and his ex-wife has claimed to Kenner Police he was schizophrenic.[5] His ex-wife also raised claims of abuse throughout their three-year relationship and eleven-day marriage. At a court hearing seeking a protective order against Dakota, she alleged that he not only choked, punched, and slapped her, but also broke her wrist when he threw her through a window. Contending the wife had not proven her allegations, the judge dissolved the temporary order of protection against Dakota; the judge instead ordered both parties have no contact with each other via joint injunction.[6]

Theriot has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, illegal use of weapons, and home invasion in Ascension Parish, along with three counts of first-degree murder in Livingston Parish.[7][8] After a day-long manhunt, Theriot was arrested by the Virginia State Police in Richmond County, Virginia, approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from the crime scene,[2][9] in the driveway of his grandmother's home in Warsaw.[10] It was reported he had driven there to "hug and kiss his two aunts and grandmother goodbye" and did not fight extradition.[1]

In March 2019 he entered a not guilty plea on three counts of first-degree murder in Livingston Parish and entered a not guilty plea for two counts of first-degree murder in Ascension Parish in April 2019.[11] His lawyers asked for the Ascension Parish judge to halt proceedings until sources of funding can be found for his defense, as they have been working pro bono for the past month and that Theriot is indigent.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Press, The Associated. "Dakota Theriot fled Louisiana to apologize to relatives, attorney says". Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  2. ^ a b c Paris, Francesca (January 27, 2019). "Police Arrest Louisiana Man Suspected Of Killing Parents, Girlfriend and 2 Others". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  3. ^ CNN. "5 dead after shooting spree in Louisiana". CNN. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  4. ^ Bacon, John (January 27, 2019). "Dakota Theriot, suspect in 5 killings in Louisiana, arrested in Virginia". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  5. ^ a b Mitchell, DAVID (April 29, 2019). "Lawyers for accused killer Dakota Theriot request funding for his defense, halt in prosecution". The Advocate. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  6. ^ writers, BRYN STOLE, GRACE TOOHEY and EMMA KENNEDY | Advocate staff. "Dakota Theriot's troubled past: Accused mass shooter's life dotted with failures". The Advocate. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  7. ^ "Suspect sought in 5 killings, including his parents, near Baton Rouge in an apparent domestic dispute". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  8. ^ "Five dead in Louisiana shootings". BBC News. 2019-01-27. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  9. ^ Maria Pasquini (January 27, 2018). "Louisiana Man Suspected of Shooting 5 — Including His Parents & Girlfriend — Arrested in Virginia". People. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  10. ^ Kennedy, Emma; Grueskin, Caroline (January 27, 2019). "Dakota Theriot's escape to Virginia: Alleged killer arrives at grandmother's with officials waiting". The Advocate. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "Another hearing date set for Dakota Theriot in Livingston Parish". WBRZ. Retrieved 2019-05-11.