January 20, 2013
Teenage Son Charged with Killing Former Calvary Chapel Pastor and Four Other Family Members
(Updated) 15-year-old arrested after Gregory Griego, formerly of Calvary Albuquerque, found dead at home.
Update (Jan. 24): The Associated Press has reported more details about the timeline of the shootings.
Update (Jan. 21): 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego has been charged with the deaths of five family members, including former Calvary Chapel megachurch pastor Gregory Griego, his father.
Last night, police charged Nehemiah Griego with two counts of murder and three counts of child abuse resulting in death. Police identified the victims as father Greg Griego, 51; his wife, Sarah Griego, 40; Zephania Griego, 9; Jael Griego, 5; and Angelina Griego, 2.
UPI reports that Nehemiah Griego first shot his mother multiple times, before also shooting his three youngest siblings. Later, Nehemiah Griego shot his father and left the family home "planning to go to the nearest Walmart, where he would kill more people, police said."
The family has issued the following statement:
Our family is grieving this terrible tragedy. We appreciate the prayers and support we have received and request that the media honour our family's privacy during this difficult time.
News organizations are reporting more details about Gregory Griego and his ministry.
A New Mexico teenager has been accused of murdering his pastor father, his mother, and three of his nine siblings on Saturday night in Albuquerque.
Nehemiah Griego, 15, was arrested after allegedly shooting his father, former Calvary Albuquerque pastor Gregory Griego, as well as four other family members—presumed to be his mother and three elementary-school-aged siblings—with an assault rifle at their Albuquerque home. Griego took a leave of absence from the church, one of New Mexico's largest, last year.
I'm Torn on what to say about the shooting deaths of Greg Griego, his loving wife Sara, and 3 of their beautiful young children. One of their sons is the suspect, and reportedly has confessed. There are other details I just don't feel comfortable in sharing, out of respect for the family, and the legal process. I know a lot of you are wondering what happened & why. We may never know fully or completely. He was a friend, & This I DO know: Greg was an ex con and former Gangbanger who Completely turned his life around through his Faith in Jesus. Greg, with the full support & blessing of his wife and family, spent the rest of his life visiting Jails & Prisons, sharing his story and changing Lives through the Love of Christ. He became a Chaplain & Pastor, and worked tirelessly at MDC in what used to be called "The God Pod". He encouraged and mentored so many of us in the Jail Ministries over the years. I can't pretend to speak for him...but I KNOW he would have asked us to Forgive the one who did this awful thing, because he never thought it was too late to change a person's heart & mind. Greg knew he himself was imperfect, and I know he struggled with his faults (as we all do) over the years. I also know he never believed there was Any man beyond the redemption of Jesus. Please honor his memory & life's work, by showing Love, Compassion & Forgiveness to those who have done wrong & even horrible things. Let us all Fast & Pray, and examine our hearts towards those who commit crimes, have mental illness, and feel hopelessly alone. May our Great & Mighty God protect us all, and see us through this darkness.
CT last reported on Calvary Albuquerque in 2006 when church members were fighting to bring accountability to church elders who they believed were misusing their authority. CT also noted when the church's pastor, who had resigned, returned to lead the church seven months later.
CT has previously reported on Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel movement, including its "day of reckoning" and uncertain future in 2007 over concerns about lax moral standards among leaders. CT last reported on the movement in November, when a pastor sued his son for cyberbulling.
CT spotlighted the surge in church violence in 2009. CT also reported how a 2007 shooting spree killed five at New Life Church in Colorado Springs and two at a YWAM training center in Denver, prompting pastors to rethink security efforts. CT also editorialized on what New Life Church did right when a gunman showed up in its parking lot.