Chesterfield Co., Va. – Authorities say troubling texts preceded a Virginia man shooting and killing his wife, son, and step-daughter before killing himself on Father’s Day, according to WTVR in Richmond, Va.
Renotta Jernigan and her two children were killed eight days after she told her husband, Barry “Chris” Jernigan, she wanted a divorce.
Renotta’s friend, Courtney Winn, told WTVR Renotta was upset by her husband’s inability to keep a job.
On Father’s Day, Chris sent out a goodbye via his work email that read, “God give me the strength to do this.” His last Facebook post was, “Just pray for my kids they understand.”
Chris reportedly sent a text to Courtney that read, “Hating her is the only way I can breathe on my own. I guess I can say is that I love to hate her and hate loving her” WTVR reports.
Courtney reported the disturbing message to Renotta, but it was too late. Several friends mobilized to intervene after seeing Chris’ disturbing texts, emails and Facebook posts.
Police were tracking Chris’ work cell phone around 10 p.m. Sunday, according to WTVR. When they arrived at the home they heard multiple gunshots.
Renotta Jernigan died at the scene from gunshot wounds. According to the report, her 2-year-old son, Seth, had also been shot and died later at the hospital. Police later found Chris and Lexi Kellas, Renotta’s daughter from a previous marriage, shot dead inside the house.
Courtney’s brother Benjamin Winn said he saw some of Chris’ Facebook posts the night of the murders.
“Chris was like ‘I can’t live without her,’ and none of us took that as he couldn’t live without her, so nobody else was going to — and he just took her from all of us,” Benjamin said.