A 15-year-old pastor’s son named Nehemiah Griego allegedly accessed his parents’ gun arsenal, then murdered both parents and three siblings on Saturday in their New Mexico home — gunning them down with bullets to the head
Here’s what you should know about this alleged teen killer and America’s latest mass shooting.
1. His Youngest Victim Was a 2-Year-Old Sister
Nehemiah allegedly murdered his father, Pastor Greg Griego, 51; his mother, Sarah Griego, 40; and his three youngest siblings, Zephania Griego, 9, Jael Griego, 5, and Angelina Griego, 2, in their sprawling home at 2806 Long Lane Southwest in South Valley, New Mexico, near Albuquerque.
The family had 10 children.
2. He Shot His Mom and Siblings in Their Beds
Nehemiah reportedly had a disagreement with his mom on Friday night, then grabbed a .22 caliber rifle from his parents’ closet and shot her as she lay asleep, next to her 9-year-old son Zephania, around midnight Saturday morning. According to a police probable cause statement, he picked up his mother’s head to show his brother her bloody face because the brother didn’t believe the mom was dead. When the brother freaked out, Nehemiah shot him dead, too. He then proceeded to the room his young sisters shared — quelling their screams by also shooting them dead. He shot all of these victims in the head, some of them multiple times.
3. He Lay in Wait for His Dad
After the initial killings, Nehemiah grabbed an AR-15 assault rifle from his parents’ closet and hid in a first-floor bathroom. He waited about five hours for his dad to come home, around 5 a.m., and gunned him down with several bullets. The AR-15 is one of the weapons used by Aurora shooter James Holmes and Sandy hook shooter Adam Lanza.
4. He Texted a Photo of His Dead Mom to His Girlfriend
Nehemiah told cops he only told one person he had committed the murders — via a gruesome text message to his girlfriend.
5. He Planned to Keep Killing … at Walmart
According to the Albuquerque Journal, cops say that after he murdered his family, Nehemiah packed up the family van with a loaded AR-15 and another weapon and headed off toward the local Walmart — where he he planned to murder more people and commit suicide-by-cop in a dramatic shootout. But, the paper reports:
Nehemiah called a friend first, who talked him into meeting at Calvary Church, where Nehemiah’s father had been a pastor.
Here’s the route from the home to the church:
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Eventually, Nehemiah told a church security guard that someone was shot in his home. The guard went to the home, witnessed the carnage and called the cops.
6. His Dad Was a Beloved Pastor (Who Worked with Troubled Kids)
Greg Griego was a well-known local minister — a former pastor of the Calvary Albuquerque megachurch who was also active with inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
Family friend John Welch tells the Albuquerque Journal (video above) that his friend, Pastor Greg, worked tirelessly to help troubled kids. Ironically, Greg had “a kid who needed help,” Nehemiah. Welch described the pastor as was “one of the most courageous, kind, endeared chaplain friends.”
Local Fire Chef James Breen made this statement about Greg:
Chaplain Griego was a dedicated professional that passionately served his fellow man and the firefighters of this community. His calming spirit and gentle nature will be greatly missed.
7. He Had a Clean Past & Seemed “Like a Normal Kid”
According to the AP, authorities indicate Nehemiah had never run afoul of the law, and there is no record of him in the juvenile justice system, according to the Children, Youth and Families Department.
Neighbor Jerry Crites tells KRQE that the boy was “fairly quiet, not real rowdy that we could tell. He seemed to be just a normal kid walking up and down the road.”
It’s believed that Nehemiah was home-schooled; he was not registered in the local school district, and his mother, Sarah, was a stay-at-home mom known to home-school her kids.
8 But He Had “Violent Fantasies”
The Albuquerque Journal reports that authorities believe Nehemiah previously showed signs of a troubled mind:
Nehemiah may have had violent fantasies including killing and murder-suicide scenarios for much of his life.
According to the probable cause statement, the teen told police he had been having “homicidal and suicidal thoughts.” And cops said Tuesday that Nehemiah also thought about killing his girlfriend’s parents.
9. He Always Wore Camouflage
Nehemiah had dreams of becoming a soldier and was known to wear camouflage — almost exclusively — whether he was walking around the neighborhood or taking a self-portrait for his dating profile (see below).
10. He Had a Dating Profile
KRQE discovered a Nehemiah’s dating profile on the site Meet One. He had lied about his age, saying he was 18, to gain access to the site. It showed him dressed in military fatigues and included these words:
I’m a fun loving guy who [likes] to make [people] happy. I might be shy but I’ll open up once you get to know me.
It’s one of the few places he left an online footprint. He had no Facebook page or Twitter account.
Here’s the probable cause statement that details Nehemiah’s version of events, as told to police: