Video: Colorado church shootings are probably connected; Update: Gunman “hated Christians,” say police

posted at 12:45 pm on December 10, 2007 by Bryan

Intuitively, it seems obvious that two shootings targeting Christian missionaries and Christians attending church within a day of each other in the same state would be connected. The evidence trail is pointing in that direction. Fox ran this update on the story a little while ago.

Michelle has much more. There will be a police press conference at 5 pm Eastern today.

Update: The New Life Church shooter has been identified as 24-year-old Matthew Murray.

Update (AP): The cops don’t know what religion Murray followed, if any, but they have reason to believe he “hated Christians.” A potential complicating factor, via Slapstick Politics: He was kicked out of the Youth With a Mission program three years ago.

Update (AP): A few more details.

Youth With a Mission (YWAM) says Murray was a student there in 2002. He was enrolled, but did not complete the program. YWAM said in a statement, “Murray did not complete the lecture phase of his Discipleship Training School, nor did he participate in the field assignment. The program directors felt that issues with his health made it inappropriate for him to do so. Murray left the Arvada training centre and no one at the facility recalls that he has made any other visits or had any communication with the centre since that time.”…

A friend also told The Associated Press that Murray grew up in a deeply religious Christian household.


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After a little research, I’ve found that church shootings are becoming more frequent. Dawkins/Hitchens to blame?

jgapinoy on December 10, 2007 at 12:57 PM

Also, click here for comprehensive coverage from yesterday, and today. The police first openly speculated on a connection last night.

elpresidente on December 10, 2007 at 12:58 PM

church shootings are becoming more frequent. Dawkins/Hitchens to blame?

jgapinoy on December 10, 2007 at 12:57 PM

Nice.

peski on December 10, 2007 at 1:00 PM

church shootings are becoming more frequent. Dawkins/Hitchens to blame?

jgapinoy on December 10, 2007 at 12:57 PM

Neither of them fit the description. Why not stick to blaming the person who actuallty open fired?

sweeper on December 10, 2007 at 1:02 PM

The shooters murderers were likely concerned about the growing threat of Christianists taking over the country.

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 1:04 PM

It was a wise move to beef up security after the first shooting in Arvada. That security guard saved a lot of lives.

ReubenJCogburn on December 10, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Dawkins/Hitchens to blame?

It was a satire of Katie Couric & the media blaming Christians for things like Oklahoma City bombings.

jgapinoy on December 10, 2007 at 1:10 PM

I know that this is just anecdotal evidence as well, but LDS churches have become increasing targets, too–especially for arson. I know of at least 2 in the Salt Lake valley recently, and within the last few weeks one in Arizona.

Of course, who is doing it and for what reason, who knows? Someone like Phelps creepy group might, or some of those street preachers who think that God wants them to desecrate LDS sacred items and places.

But my guess is the “tolerant leftists” who are growing increasingly militant (same for this story). Some guys who think that they are striking a blow against the evil Christians, who are going to force a theocracy on everyone and, I don’t know, take away their cocaine?

Vanceone on December 10, 2007 at 1:11 PM

When are they going to start calling this a hate crime? Because it is. People who are attending church were purposely targeted for being people who attended church. Thus, this is a hate crime against Christians.

Still praying my little heart out for the family, friends, and congregations of this church and mission school.

mjk on December 10, 2007 at 1:11 PM

It was a wise move to beef up security after the first shooting in Arvada. That security guard saved a lot of lives.

I agree. Too bad they did not have time to put a warning sign out that armed members were on the premises. Along that same line, I’ve seen references to the No Guns policy in the Omaha shopping mall as being something that could be ignored by CCW folks, because as just a store policy, one could simply leave if caught carrying a concealed weapon. Most people aren’t aware that both Omaha and Lincoln don’t allow CCW holders to carry within city limits, so in case someone is contemplating ignoring store policy in those cities, bear in mind it is illegal by city law, and would probably not be just a matter of leaving the store, without legal involvment, if caught. Several other towns in NE have the same laws. I see in the New Life Church preparations, congregation members with CCW permits were part of the security detail, but it would be more difficult if that church was located in a city where carrying a weapon, even with a CCW is illegal by town ordinance. Makes it much harder to self police, although in this case they seemed to have the armed security guard in the rotunda, which seemed to be the right place for her.

a capella on December 10, 2007 at 1:32 PM

One of the comments:

I may be missing something here, but what kind of a church needs an armed security staff?

I don’t know.
What kind of university needs armed security? (VA Tech)
What kind of mall needs armed security? (Omaha)
What kind of elementary school needs armed security? (Amish)

My guess is: any place that the average armed lunatic thinks is an easy target needs armed security.

Who knows if this is a case of “Let’s kill the Christians” or “Let’s kill a building full of (most likely) unarmed people.” Either way, thank god there was someone there to stop him before it became a large-scale murder.

CookeyD on December 10, 2007 at 1:35 PM

CookeyD, in one article I read it appeared as if they beefed up security yesterday a.m. after hearing of the missionaries shot the night before.

INC on December 10, 2007 at 1:39 PM

And a wise decision it was. I’m curious though, was there a specific reason why this church decided to beef up security? Was there a specific threat to them or to other area churches in general? I’m curious how many other churches may have made the same decision.

CookeyD on December 10, 2007 at 1:42 PM

I may be missing something here, but what kind of a church needs an armed security staff?

The church I attended in upper-middle-class South Surrey/White Rock, BC used a volunteer security detail (which I headed up) every year around Halloween after it was vandalized one year. We were unarmed, of course (it’s Canada, after all, where even some police forces are unarmed) but we did keep contact with radios. No more vandalism after that!

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 1:45 PM

I have no idea if this has any relevance to this story, but it is interesting that the director of The Path to 9/11 is David Cunningham, the son of the founders of Youth With a Mission, and the Left were up in arms about this “right wing conspiracy”.

Here’s one outraged story from Max Blumenthal at HuffPo.

In fact, “The Path to 9/11″ is produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias. This is the network within the ABC network. Its godfather is far right activist David Horowitz, who has worked for more than a decade to establish a right-wing presence in Hollywood and to discredit mainstream film and TV production. On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11′s director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to “transform Hollywood” in line with its messianic vision.

TPM Muckraker had a similarly scornful piece with the headline, Path to 9/11 film maker has Evangelical Ties.

Buy Danish on December 10, 2007 at 1:49 PM

LDS…vandalism…street preachers

I know a lot of “street preachers”. They wouldn’t vandalize LDS buildings. Christians’ “weapons” are spiritual–prayer, preaching–not physical.

jgapinoy on December 10, 2007 at 1:52 PM

And a wise decision it was. I’m curious though, was there a specific reason why this church decided to beef up security? Was there a specific threat to them or to other area churches in general? I’m curious how many other churches may have made the same decision.

CookeyD on December 10, 2007 at 1:42 PM

I never saw any specific reason mentioned in any coverage that I saw–as in, a specific threat against churches. But the mission program that was hit in Arvada also has a small office on the New Life campus, so I’m sure that was a big factor in their decision. Plus just having 7,000 unarmed people there is an awful lot of potential targets if an attack did occur. It’s a shame that a church needs to have armed security these days, but unfortunately that’s the world we live in.

ReubenJCogburn on December 10, 2007 at 2:15 PM

I live in Colorado (on Planet Boulder of course) and have been following this story locally. The most fascinating part of this story is that a volunteer security guard with a gun stopped the maniac from killing alot more bystanders. If this is ever a perfect pro-gun scenario, I don’t know what is. Especially after people dying in malls in the past year in Nebraska and Utah, the shootings at Virginia Tech, what happened in Bailey Colorado and other school that are gun free zones. That is free of guns for everyone, but suicidal maniacs looking to kill many people without any resistance. I’m not trying to go “old west” on anybody, but don’t you think lives could be saved and maniacs might think twice if we allowed store owners, teachers, etc. be more openly permitted to carry guns. Instead of advertising everyplace in public place as “gun free” and basically flashing neon signs for crazy murderers to go on a killing spree.

Planet Boulder on December 10, 2007 at 2:15 PM

I’m curious how many other churches may have made the same decision.

CookeyD on December 10, 2007 at 1:42 PM

Alot of folks in churches pack. We don’t believe sitting around defenseless is a wise choice.

AZ_Redneck on December 10, 2007 at 2:22 PM

Alot of folks in churches pack. We don’t believe sitting around defenseless is a wise choice.

AZ_Redneck on December 10, 2007 at 2:22 PM

Good for you. Our liberal “betters” just hate the kind of (common) sense that you and Planet Boulder are talking.

ReubenJCogburn on December 10, 2007 at 2:27 PM

The one story MM linked to had as part of the first part of the story that the shooter was home-schooled.

How is that relevant?

Anyone?

MT

Mistahtibbs on December 10, 2007 at 3:19 PM

The one story MM linked to had as part of the first part of the story that the shooter was home-schooled.
How is that relevant?
Mistahtibbs on December 10, 2007 at 3:19 PM

Implying he was an evangelical christian as some do home-school.

Also, CNN.com is reporting…
1. that he was associated with the missionary school a few years back and left on bad terms.
2. The missionary school apparently had a satellite office at the church.

3. The lady that shot him was one of three “guards” that approached him, but was the only one armed. She shot him once, putting him on the floor, but had to shoot a second time when he appeared to be reaching for a “grenade”.

Catseye on December 10, 2007 at 3:35 PM

I must admit, and this is probably due to living here in Cali, that the thought of an armed security staff protecting a church was a bit alien. Or that any would be packing period.

Makes sense, but from an internal standpoint I’ve never even imagined the scenario before.

Stinkin California, eroding my Conservative mindset.

CTDeLude on December 10, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Stinkin California, eroding my Conservative mindset.

CTDeLude on December 10, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Get out! Before it’s too late!

(I’m one to talk. I’m in Canada… on the other hand, I grew up here, and get more conservative as I get older.)

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 4:25 PM

I noticed on Michelle’s site that the suspected shooter was homeschooled. I will be surprised if the media does not offer this story up as proof of what they have always known, that homeschoolers are psychologically damaging their children.

Renae on December 10, 2007 at 4:26 PM

CNN is now saying that they’ve confirmed that Murray was the shooter in both incidents.

ReubenJCogburn on December 10, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Frozen Tex, we need you here. Your posts are always so rational.

Rose on December 10, 2007 at 5:41 PM

Stinkin California, eroding my Conservative mindset.

CTDeLude on December 10, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Recognition is the first step to recovery. You just need to travel ~300 miles east.

AZ_Redneck on December 10, 2007 at 5:49 PM

A potential complicating factor, via Slapstick Politics: He was kicked out of the Youth With a Mission program three years ago.

I can’t see a psychologically stable person holding a three-year homicidal grudge against the mission program. I get the feeling that we’re going to find out that this was another person with a history of psych problems, like the Omaha shooter. Possibly even a copycat, given the time frame.

ReubenJCogburn on December 10, 2007 at 5:50 PM

As long as this country is only partially armed, the massacres will continue.

Kristopher on December 10, 2007 at 6:02 PM

Frozen Tex, we need you here. Your posts are always so rational.

Rose on December 10, 2007 at 5:41 PM

That’s very charitable of you. I also post occasionally on the website/blog of a Canadian rocker (one of my favourites) named Matthew Good. If anyone notices my posts at all, I give them anyeurisms. I love the guy’s music, but his politics are far to the left, and some of the commenters’re down-right rabid in the BDS and anti-Americanism. I much prefer the company at Hot Air.

He was kicked out of the Youth With a Mission program three years ago.

That could have been upsetting. From what I saw of YWAM in my last church, it looked like a “missions-based” travel agency for Christian youth, with an angle that gets a congregation to pay for the “Mission Trip” to Tahiti. But that’s just what I saw of one or two people involved with it.

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 6:07 PM

I have a friend whose daughter is with YWAM. These kids do depend on donations. But they work hard and are quite committed.

Rose on December 10, 2007 at 6:17 PM

I have a friend whose daughter is with YWAM. These kids do depend on donations. But they work hard and are quite committed.

Rose on December 10, 2007 at 6:17 PM

I’m sure many do, or the organization wouldn’t have lasted. It’s just the couple of kids that I knew used it like a free exotic vacation.

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 6:19 PM

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 6:19 PM

I ran into YWAMers when I lived in Japan. They were good kids, one and all.

Bryan on December 10, 2007 at 6:22 PM

Bryan on December 10, 2007 at 6:22 PM

Excellent. That means the ones I knew were the exceptions.

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 6:27 PM

bear in mind it is illegal by city law

a capella on December 10, 2007 at 1:32 PM

The city of Omaha did have a ban on CCW but it was repealed on Jul 18 2006


http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2006/07/19/local/doc44bce1f171253416962196.txt

I have Clayton Cramer’s book Armed America, which is a history of the militia.

Quote “in many colonies, adults were ordered to arm themselves for the purpose of self defense while traveling or attending public meetings, or church” (pg. 4).

Here is his website.

http://www.claytoncramer.com/

mad saint jack on December 10, 2007 at 6:30 PM

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 6:27 PM

and please, by no means do I want to belittle the lives and goals of the young people killed in Arvada. Matthew Murray was fairly obviously a disturbed individual.

Frozen Tex on December 10, 2007 at 6:31 PM

I noticed on Michelle’s site that the suspected shooter was homeschooled. I will be surprised if the media does not offer this story up as proof of what they have always known, that homeschoolers are psychologically damaging their children.

Renae on December 10, 2007 at 4:26 PM

They are setting the stage. I’m sure there will be a series of “special reports” on The Today Show and all the other liberal “news” shows about home schoolers forthcoming.

NTWR on December 10, 2007 at 6:40 PM

I noticed on Michelle’s site that the suspected shooter was homeschooled. …

Renae on December 10, 2007 at 4:26 PM

I pack a gun to church and we home school our kids. We also teach them how to use firearms and the associated responsibilities at an early age.

I figure we are one of those ‘whack job’ families that keeps liberals in living in senseless fear.

Did I mention we hunt with bows also?

AZ_Redneck on December 10, 2007 at 7:01 PM

The city of Omaha did have a ban on CCW but it was repealed on Jul 18 2006


Ah, very good. My error. Thank you.

a capella on December 10, 2007 at 7:02 PM

“Murray did not complete the lecture phase of his Discipleship Training School, nor did he participate in the field assignment. The program directors felt that issues with his health made it inappropriate for him to do so.”

Sometimes “health issues” is PC code for mental health issues. Everything I’ve heard so far makes him sound like the “quiet loner” profile that so many lone gunmen have.

ReubenJCogburn on December 10, 2007 at 7:56 PM

So this lunatic was 24 years old, and it’s relevant that he was home-schooled?

Great… Hillary Clinton can beat this into the ground for the next 5 years for being against home-schooling and school vouchers / choice.

burnitup on December 10, 2007 at 9:56 PM

This is the first homeschooled public massacre psycho I have heard about.

This is a better argument against allowing public schools … all of the other psychos had been damaged in public schools, as far as I can tell.

Kristopher on December 10, 2007 at 11:08 PM

I must admit, and this is probably due to living here in Cali, that the thought of an armed security staff protecting a church was a bit alien. Or that any would be packing period.

Makes sense, but from an internal standpoint I’ve never even imagined the scenario before.

Stinkin California, eroding my Conservative mindset.

CTDeLude on December 10, 2007 at 3:43 PM

While VA is more or less friendly to gun owners, one VA law states that you are not allowed to have a gun in a church (LEO member exceptions may apply).

I remember a similar law on VA college campuses (law that was attempted to be overturned one year prior), and we know how that turned out.

F15Mech on December 10, 2007 at 11:39 PM

I want to ask the lady who shot him, “Are you a gun happy person? Do you like to shoot people?”

Tim Burton on December 11, 2007 at 9:24 AM

Slapstick Politics links to this story too. It is very inspiring. The lady who shot and killed this murdering intruder should be esteemed as an inspiration. Especially to women. I get sick of feminist groups encouraging self empowering defense courses that might involve some type of marshall arts (nothing wrong with that) but they rarely encourage that women train with the ultimate equalizer.

wytammic on December 11, 2007 at 9:37 AM

I want to ask the lady who shot him, “Are you a gun happy person? Do you like to shoot people?”Tim Burton on December 11, 2007 at 9:24 AM

Idiot alert…alert…alert…
troll…troll…troll

right2bright on December 11, 2007 at 9:58 AM

AZ_Redneck on December 10, 2007 at 7:01 PM

Keep em guessin…I like that.

right2bright on December 11, 2007 at 9:59 AM

The sad part, is the Church actually had to have the foresight to require armed guards.
This is the state of emergency we live in. Words are thrown at other religions, bullets at Christians. It shows you the power of faith, and how some will do anything to destroy it. If not from within by subverting symbols and doctrine, then from the outside with weapons.
Looks like I take a bible, cut out the pages to fit a Glock, and go to church.

right2bright on December 11, 2007 at 10:05 AM

I want to ask the lady who shot him, “Are you a gun happy person? Do you like to shoot people?”

Tim Burton on December 11, 2007 at 9:24 AM

Idiot alert…alert…alert…
troll…troll…troll

right2bright on December 11, 2007 at 9:58 AM

Ah, Tim was making a Rebecca Aguilar joke, not trolling.

ReubenJCogburn on December 11, 2007 at 10:33 AM

ReubenJCogburn on December 11, 2007 at 10:33 AM

Then I am sure he will explain. I don’t even like her singing.

right2bright on December 11, 2007 at 11:23 AM

At my church we are our own armed security. We average around 4-500 on Sunday morning. I know of at least a half dozen, including myself, who are regularly armed (concealed of course).

Someone commented on how sad it is that churches are brought to needing armed security. I think it is sad that people rely on armed security because they are unarmed themselves. Luke 22:36– “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Col. Jeff Cooper said the 1911 is the modern day equivalent to the Roman short sword. Good enough for me.

Barntender on December 11, 2007 at 11:30 AM

Just watch. Some will try to blame this guy’s major malfunction on his parents, and smear them as evil, horrible, disgusting zealots who locked their son in the basement for a week and beat him with a whip because the Bible demands it.

Ryan Gandy on December 11, 2007 at 12:21 PM

You’ve got to do a story on Jeanne Assam, the lady who shot Murray. She’s gutsy.

Apeking on December 11, 2007 at 12:46 PM

“You’ve got to do a story on Jeanne Assam, the lady who shot Murray. She’s gutsy.”

Ah, you already have (it’s a video clip).

Apeking on December 11, 2007 at 12:47 PM

When the Omaha mall shooter wrote in his suicide note “I’m going to be famous.” He didn’t count on another spree shooting days later. Boy, the jerks in society just screw things up for everybody, huh pal?

I can’t wait for “Jeanne Assam-the tactical drill” at the local IDPA shooting league.

Buck Turgidson on December 12, 2007 at 12:26 AM