A St. Louis-area man charged with fatally shooting his girlfriend, her two young children and her mother could face the death penalty once the investigation is complete.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that authorities are still investigating what led to the shooting late Friday. Richard Darren Emery of St. Charles, Missouri, is facing 15 charges, including first-degree murder.

Emery, who often goes by his middle name Darren, exchanged gunfire with officers as he fled. He was captured several hours later — wounded and covered in blood.

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.”

Officials said police received a call just before midnight Friday about a shooting at the house where Emery and the victims lived. Lohmar said officers later found three victims dead of gunshot wounds in one bedroom. They were Zoe Kasten, 8; her brother, Jonathan Kasten, 10; and their grandmother, Jane Moeckel, 61.

St. Charles is a city of about 70,000 residents on the Missouri River northwest of St. Louis.

A candlelight vigil was planned Sunday evening to honor the victims: 61-year-old Jane Moeckel, 39-year-old Kate Kasten, 8-year-old Zoe Kasten and 10-year-old Jonathan Kasten.

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In this Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, photo St. Charles County Prosecutor speaks to the press in St. Charles, Mo. (Celeste Bott/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
In this Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, photo St. Charles County Prosecutor speaks to the press in St. Charles, Mo. (Celeste Bott/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
This undated photo provided by St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office shows suspect Richard Darren Emery. The St. Louis-area man shot his girlfriend, her two young children and her mother in the home they all shared, authorities said Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. (St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Source: The Associated Press

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