Killing of Former Calvary Pastor and his Family Members
15-year-old Nehemiah Griego has been charged with the deaths on Saturday of five family members, including former Calvary of Albuquerque pastor Greg Griego, his father, reports Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries.
According to a blog posted at Christianity Today (http://blog.christianitytoday.com), police have 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 at 1:00 a.m while sleeping, before also shooting his three youngest siblings. Later, Nehemiah Griego shot his father as he returned home from work, 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 honor our family's privacy during this difficult time.”
News organizations are reporting more details about Greg Griego and his ministry.
According to KRQE News 13 (http://www.krqe.com), “Greg Griego, the father gunned down inside his Southwest Albuquerque home allegedly by his own son, was according to sources a well-loved father of 10 children and a prominent pastor."
Griego was a chaplain for the Albuquerque Fire Department, the county jail and formerly at Calvary Albuquerque, one of the largest churches in New Mexico. Colleagues of Greg Griego say he had a troubled past, but it was that experience which help him touch so many lives.”
Albuquerque News 13 said that it interviewed Griego in March of 2010, saying, “He mentored a robbery suspect who was shot and killed by Albuquerque Police after he crashed a stolen car into their police units at Walmart.”
Griego met the man because he was a volunteer pastor at the Metro Detention Center (MDC).
“He made bad decisions. There's no question in my mind about that,” said Griego in 2010. “I believe this is a tragedy.”
The story went on to say, “Now the community is mourning a very different type of tragedy. Griego worked with inmates at MDC for the last 13 years.”
“He identified with the inmate population,” explained MDC Chief Ramon Rustin. “I think he had some trouble earlier in his life so he was able to give back.”
Chief Rustin says Griego touched hundreds of lives with his faith.
“Through the verses of the bible he was just trying to convert them to leave the criminal lifestyle behind, quit dealing drugs, attend church and those kind of things,” explained Rustin.
Griego was also a pastor, for several years, at the huge Calvary of Albuquerque, one of the many churches affiliated with the Calvary Chapel Movement.
“He spent time in the military and served his country,” said Calvary's Executive Director Brian Nixon. “He was just a wonderful man.”
The executive director said the father of 10 would often bring his family to church services.
“Greg loved his family. He loved his children. They were a wonderful family,” he said.
Nixon had no idea how something like this could happen.
News 13 says that it has also learned Greg Griego is the brother of former State Senator Eric Griego. He issued a statement saying “Our family is grieving this terrible tragedy. We appreciate the prayers and support we have received and request that the media honor our family's privacy during this difficult time.”
Albuquerque Fire Chief Jim Breen said Greg Griego was also a chaplain for the department. He described Griego as calming and gentle.
Officials say Greg Griego had recently taken a leave of absence from volunteering at the Metro Detention Center and his job as a pastor at Calvary. That happened about eight months ago, but they did not say why.
According to media reports, Nehemiah Griego, allegedly shot his family members with a 22 rifle and an AR-15 military-style assault rifle.
Apparently, Greg Griego had spent his last hours helping the homeless in Albuquerque, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
He was returning home at about 5:00 AM on Saturday morning from an overnight shift at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission when he was killed allegedly by his son.
“Nehemiah stated he lost his sense of conscience and went to the bedroom his two younger sisters’ share. Nehemiah stated when he entered he noticed that his sisters were crying and he shot both of them in the head,” a police report says.