Apodaca then killed himself outside The Federal Heights Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, in Thornton, Colorado, police said in a news release posted to their Facebook page.
In a news release, Thornton, Colorado, police said initially that an adult man shot and killed his wife at the Kingdom Hall, and both were former members of the congregation.
In the latest news release, police wrote that they found “three explosive devices” at the scene.
In that news release, Thornton police identified Enoch Apodaca as the suspect and his wife Melissa Apodaca as the victim in a murder-suicide.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Enoch Apodaca ‘Bombed a Union Office’ Before the Kingdom Hall Shooting, Reports Say
According to the police news release, on December 25, 2022, at around 8:45 a.m., Enoch Apodaca entered his place of business in the 5600 block of Logan Street with “what appeared to be a bucket.”
The Denver Post reported that Apodaca also “bombed a union office,” the IBEW Local Union 68 building at the location on Logan Street.
Police wrote in their news release that, shortly after Apodaca exited the building and entered his vehicle, “a large explosion was heard.” No one was injured as the business was closed at that time, and fire personnel responded, police wrote in the news release.
Fifteen minutes later, Thornton officers were dispatched to the Kingdom Hall after receiving a report of a structure fire and shooting, the police news release says.
“Thornton PD is investigating a homicide at Kingdom Hall, 951 Milky Way. Heavy police presence at the scene. There is no active threat. Updates here…” Thornton police wrote on Christmas Day via Twitter.
A LinkedIn page described Enoch Apodaca as “E@M consulting services owner.”
2. Apodaca Was Seen Breaking a Kingdom Hall Window With a Hammer Before Shooting His Wife in the Back of the Head, Police Say
According to the last police news release, Enoch Apodaca was seen directing Melissa to “back a black Dodge truck up to the building just below a window.”
He then broke the window with a hammer and “places what was later discovered to be three explosive devices into the Kingdom Hall building. Enoch then approached Melissa, whom had exited the truck, and shot her in the back of a head with a shotgun. Enoch then shot himself with the same shotgun,” the police news release says.
None of the explosive devices police believe he placed into Kingdom Hall detonated, the police release says. A bomb technician “found that a fuse on one of the devices nearly detonated before being extinguished or experiencing a malfunction,” according to the news release.
According to the police news release, this device was attached to a bucket similar to what was found to have been used earlier at the Logan Street location.
3. Apodaca, Who Was Described as Intelligent & Manipulative, Made Previous ‘Violent Threats,’ Reports Say
Westminster Police “were warned more than a year ago about the man’s violent threats and bomb-making history,” The Denver Post reported.
According to The Post, in that incident, Apodaca was accused of threatening the Kingdom Hall congregation, and he was accused of threatening to shoot his wife and a union representative. According to The Post, the latter threat occurred after Apodaca was fired from a job as a union contractor electrician in 2021 for Sturgeon Electric company, Inc. That company filed a protection order against him, according to The Post.
A police log shows that an officer “was dispatched for a welfare check” in 2021, and the call was “cleared,” but it’s not clear what exactly police did in response, The Post reported.
There were seven police calls to the Apodaca home, according to The Post.
Police wrote early on, “Still very early in the investigation. The Adams County Sheriff’s Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit is on scene as well.”
4. The Couple Lived in a Mobile Home Community, Where Police Say They Discovered the Couple’s Personal Belongings Set Out & Marked to Be Distributed to Family Members
According to The Denver Post, the couple lived in the High View Mobile Home community.
A search warrant was executed at their residence in the 8600 block of Zuni Street, where they lived alone, the police news release said.
No additional devices were found, but numerous items “consistent with the manufacturing of explosives similar to those found in Kingdom Hall were located. It also appeared that personal belongings had been set out and clearly marked to be distributed to specific family members,” according to the police news release.
Both had been previous members of Kingdom Hall but were no longer welcomed, the news release said.
5. Enoch Apodaca Had Reached Out to a Member of the Congregation, Expressing an Interest ‘in Returning,’ Police Say
The night before the incident, Enoch Apodaca “reached out to a member expressing an interest in returning to the Kingdom Hall congregation. Enoch was directed to speak with Kingdom Hall elders,” according to the police news release.
The motive was “personal issues Enoch had with his employer, and the couples’ own issues with Kingdom Hall,” the news release said.
There were only two members inside the Kingdom Hall building when the devices were dropped into it because the first meeting of the day was not scheduled until 9:30 a.m., the police news release said.
One of the Kingdom Hall members put out a fire near one of the devices with a fire extinguisher, and they were rendered safe. No one else was injured, the release said.
Thornton, Colorado, is located about 10 miles from Denver.