Friends, family rally behind daughter after dad killed in DeKalb County murder-suicide

Family, friends and coworkers still can’t believe 37-year-old Christian Chestnut was killed in a murder-suicide on June 7.

Now they’re working to ensure his 11-year-old daughter has a leg up on her future. 

"You can see the love I feel for him while he’s talking about how he loves me," said Billie Gill-Chestnut as she showed FOX 5 the last pictures she ever took with her son.

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"We had a pageant, a Mother's Day program. They said, ‘Do you want to say anything about your mother?’ And so he told everybody how much he loved me," Gill-Chestnut told FOX 5 through tears on Monday. 

It’s a memory she’ll now treasure forever, after her son, 37-year-old Christian Chestnut, was murdered at 3009 Rainbow Drive on June 7.

"It was beyond a nightmare. I kept waiting to wake up," Gill-Chestnut said. 

DeKalb County Police say Chestnut was killed by 38-year-old Michael Durieux, a reserve sergeant with the Fort Valley Police Department, in an apparent murder-suicide.

"Burying a child is just unbelievable, it's the most horrific thing. I've lost a mother and a father, but this is the most horrific thing that a parent can go through," she said.

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DeKalb County police block off a section of Candler Road south of I-20 for a shooting investigation on June 7, 2024.  (FOX 5)

Chestnut had an 11-year-old daughter, Sarynity, who is about to celebrate her first birthday without her father at the end of this month.

"I don't know what we're going to do for a birthday, because we're grieving, but it is a birthday," Gill-Chestnut said. "I don't want her to feel sad, and I want her to find some joy in her birthday, if she can. But, I don't know."

Chestnut was also well-loved at the IT firm Kinetix, where he worked.

"We immediately called a meeting Monday morning. ‘What are we going to do to honor Chris?’" said Victor Erazo, a close friend and co-worker of Chestnut's.

He and a few other coworkers started a GofundMe to help Chestnut’s daughter.

They hope any money raised can give her the leg up on her future that Chestnut so desperately wanted to give her.

"This is all that Chris ever wanted, all he spoke about. So, why not take his words and put action and a movement behind them," Erazo said.