A man shot and killed his wife at a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Thornton, Colorado, Thornton police said in a news release.
In the news release posted to Twitter, Thornton, Colorado, police said that both the husband and wife were former members of the congregation.
Thornton Police, in a news release posted to the department’s Facebook page, later identified the suspect as Enoch Apodaca and said the victim was his wife, Melissa Apodaca. Police said in the release that the murder-suicide occurred on December 25, 2022.
Police later said in an updated news release that they found “three incendiary devices at the scene.”
The suspect shot and killed himself after murdering his wife, according to the police news release.
The deaths occurred on Christmas Day, which is supposed to be associated with “joy, family and fun,” police wrote in their news release.
Here’s what you need to know:
‘There Is No Active Threat,’ Police Wrote
“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.
Police received the initial call of a structure fire around 9 a.m. on December 25, 2022, according to the police news release.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and loss of life at our Kingdom Hall in Thornton,” the Sherrelwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses said in a statement to the Denver Post.
The Denver Post reported that one man, Luis Sanchez, heard two gunshots and found a woman “lying on the ground outside.”
According to the final 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.”
According to The Denver Post, this building housed the IBEW Local Union 68 building.
Police wrote in their news release that “a large explosion was heard.” No one was injured, police wrote in the news release.
A short time later, Thornton officers were dispatched to the Kingdom Hall after receiving a report of a structure fire and shooting, the police news release says.
Police Say Enoch Apodaca Shot His Wife in the Head With a Shotgun
According to the last police news release, Enoch Apodaca directed Melissa to “back a black Dodge truck up to the building just below a window” at the Kingdom Hall.
The police news release says Apodaca broke a window with a hammer before placing “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,” according to the police news release.
None of the explosive devices detonated, the police release says, but a fuse “nearly detonated before being extinguished or experiencing a malfunction,” according to the news release. It was also attached to a bucket, according to the police news release.
The police news release says that the Apodacas had been kicked out of the congregation and that Enoch Apodaca had recently asked if he could return.
The Federal Heights Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall was the site of the homicide, according to the address provided by police in the news release.
Police later wrote on Twitter, “Still very early in the investigation. The Adams County Sheriff’s Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit is on scene as well. More details as they become available…”
The Shooting May Be a ‘Domestic Incident,’ Reports Say
Adams County Fire Rescue said from the start that “this is a domestic incident, but did not expand on that,” Denver 7 reported. The television station later reported that first responders went to what they thought was a “structure fire” at first but then discovered a “domestic issue,” not a fire, when they arrived.
The congregation holds weekly 9:30 a.m. meetings at the Thornton Kingdom Hall, according to Denver 7.
Thornton, Colorado, is located about 10 miles from Denver. According to 9 News, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene of active shooter reports.
“Heavy police presence at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. @ThorntonPolice says it is a homicide investigation and there is no active threat. Working to learn more details @DenverChannel,” reporter Kristian Lopez wrote on Twitter, sharing a video of the law enforcement response to the scene.