Yesterday around noon I started covering another mass slaying, this one in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A kid, 15, had been arrested and five had been found shot to death in house where he lived. Something told me this tragic incident would have layers that would reveal much about gun culture and laws in America and the current debate over gun control. But I could not have imagined just how much it would.
Slowly details emerged. An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was found nearby. The kid was seized after a 911 call. He was IDed as one Nehemiah Griego. One of the dead was dad. The father had served as a local pastor, and was a beloved chaplain to the Albuquerque Fire Dept. and a prison. Then it emerged that the other four deceased were his mom and three siblings—all under the age of 10. Neighbors didn’t know much about the shooter, except he seemed to be wearing camouflage every time they saw him (see photo). Apparently he had been home-schooled.
Then, this morning, the Albuquerque Journal posted many shocking details. The weapons included not just the AR-15 but more. He had gotten them out of his father’s unlocked closet, not a gun safe, after he had a “minor disagreement” with his mother. He shot her in her bed, then the three little kids, in their beds. Mulitple times. Perhaps with the semi-auto rifle. Waited a few hours, then shot dad when he came home.
Then: Loaded up van with weapons and started to drive to local Walmart, where he planned to slaughter many more, then kill himself. Called friend, though, who suggested he stop by church and maybe think about it. Security guard there calls cops.
Kid admits much of this to police, it seems, and they say he had long has history of violent fantasies and suicide.