December 10, 2007

Colorado Shootings Day 2

Scroll for updates . . .
****Update 8: Matthew Murray kicked out of YWAM, "strange behavior", heard "voices":
Matthew Murray was kicked out of a missionary training program five years ago for strange behavior, and talked about hearing voices, according to a man who served at the center with him.

Crime scene tape is placed near a Youth With A Mission sign in Arvada, Colorado, on Sunday.

Murray was the gunman who killed two people at the Youth With A Mission center on Sunday and two others at a Colorado Springs megachurch later that day, police said. He was shot by a church security guard and died of his wounds.

Richard Werner, 34, said Monday he was a worker at the center in Arvada, Colorado, in 2002, the same time as Murray.

He said Murray was told in December 2002 he would not be allowed to join a mission trip to Bosnia. That was five days after Murray performed a pair of dark rock songs at a concert at the mission that made fellow workers "pretty scared," according to Werner.

The performance -- which included a song by rock band Linkin Park and another that had been recorded by controversial rocker Marilyn Manson -- followed months of strange behavior, Werner said.

Werner, of Balneario Camborius, Brazil, said he had a bunk near Murray's and that Murray would roll around in bed and make noises.

"He would say, 'Don't worry, I'm just talking to the voices,' " Werner said. "He'd say, 'Don't worry, Richard. You're a nice guy. The voices like you.'"

Jeanne Assam

****Update 7: Jeanne Assam describes her experience, "hands didn't even shake":
The guard who saved untold lives at New Life Church gives credit to God for giving her cover, and boosting her firepower as she shot a heavily-armed gunman.

"I give credit to God. I say that very humbly," said Jeanne Assam. "God was with me, the whole time I was behind cover. Based on the firepower he had, compared to mine."

Assam spoke at a press conference in Colorado Springs this afternoon. She is one of about 12 armed security officers at New Life Church, according to Pastor Brady Boyd.

She responded when Matthew Murray, 24, began targeting church members in Colorado Springs, after a rampage hours earlier in Arvada in which two missionary training center staff members were killed and two were injured. Two teenagers at New Life were killed, and three others injured before Assam could shoot Murray.

She calmly described how the incident unfolded.

"I heard shots fired, there was chaos," she said. "There was a lot of people in the church. People were running away from shots fired.

"I saw him coming through the doors, and I took cover, and I waited for him to get closer...I identified myself, engaged him, and took him down."

She spoke unemotionally, but the first words she said were in tribute to the victims.

"I just want you to know it's an honor to be here and I want to extend my sympathy to the families of the victims and of the gunman. And I mean that very sincerely," she said.

"I just prayed for the holy spirit to guide hands weren't even shaking."
****Update 6: Arvada, Colorado Springs shootings forensically linked; more details emerge from the final confrontation:
Bourbonnais says he was in the cafeteria when the gunfire started.

"He (Murray) had shot a couple out in the parking lot and by the time I got there, he had entered the two doors on the northeast side," said Bourbonnais. "I kept saying to the security guard, 'Give me your handgun, I'm going to take him out."

Bourbonnais says Murray was dressed in all black with combat boots and he had an assault rifle. Bourbonnais says Murray reminded him of a SWAT officer.

"I jumped out, got his attention and called him a name. And then he just looked at me and then he started to shoot me and so when I realized that, I jumped back," said Bourbonnais, "and all I got were two pellets in my arm so I thought, 'Well, I'll jump out again' and then I noticed the lady to my right. He shot a few times. She shot a few."

"She (Assam) was yelling, I recall, 'Surrender.' I didn't want to get in her way. I was unarmed, so I ran kind of up and parallel because I couldn't see," said Bourbonnais. "She fired off 10 or 12 shots and we both came around the corner and he started sliding down and he started bleeding. He looked pretty dead. I told her to take a headshot and she said, 'No, I think he's dead.' I took a handgun out of his hand because I was unarmed. I cleared it. It had jammed, I remember that."

"I told her that's the bravest thing I've ever seen and she said, 'I was just praying. It was the Holy Spirit to help me do this right.' That was pretty powerful stuff, very, very brave," he said.
****Update 5: Gunman ignored security officer Jeanne Assam's order to drop his weapon, fired at her before being shot himself, "thanks God"; two other armed male guards refused to fire:
The gunman who killed two at a Colorado Springs church Sunday refused a guard's order to drop his weapon and fired before the guard shot him to death and ended the attack, according to a church official.

The guard, a member of the New Life Church who provides security as a volunteer, was called a hero by church officials today.

"She's the hero," Senior Pastor Brady Boyd said. "She saved 100 lives yesterday."

Michael Ware, pastor of Victory Church in Westminster and a New Life overseer, said the security guard is a small woman, "110 pounds dripping wet."

Relating the account he had been told, Ware said the woman ordered the gunman to drop his weapon and they exchanged shots. The attacker shot at the guard, missed, and kept walking into the church, Ware said. The woman fired again, taking down the gunman.
Vietnam Vet Larry Bourbannais details two male guards who did not fire, refused to give him their weapons:
Near an entryway in the church, Bourbonnais came upon the gunman and an armed male church security guard who was there with his gun drawn but not firing, he said.

Bourbonnais said he pleaded with the armed guard to give him his weapon.

"Give me your handgun. I've been in combat, and I'm going to take this guy out," Bourbonnais recalled telling the guard. "He kept yelling, 'Get behind me! Get behind me!' He wouldn't hand me his weapon, but he wouldn't do anything."

There was an additional armed security guard there, another man, who also didn't fire, Bourbonnais said.

Bourbonnais yelled at the gunman to draw his attention, he said.

"First, I called him 'Coward' then I called him 'S---head' " Bourbonnais said. "I probably shouldn't have been saying that in church."

Rachael Works, 16, back left, and Stephanie Works, 18, front right, died in the shootings at New Life Church. They are pictured with their parents, David and Marie, and sisters. David Works was wounded in the attack.

****Update 4: "Gunman hated Christians" according to police, "like a commando on a suicide mission", worked for YWAM 3 years ago but was kicked out, sent "hate mail"; Murray's religious affiliation unknown:
A law enforcement official says the deadly rampages at a megachurch and a missionary training school were believed to have been carried out by the same person — Matthew J. Murray, a 24-year-old Arapahoe County man who “hated Christians.”

Murray had recently sent “hate mail” to the Youth With A Mission training center after being kicked out of the program three years ago, a search warrant affidavit obtained today says.

“The common denominator with both locations of (the shootings), is a church based group called ‘Youth With A Mission’ (Y-WAM),” Colorado Springs Detective Bradley Pratt wrote Sunday in a statement supporting of search warrant for Murray’s family home in Arapahoe County.

“It appears that the suspect had been kicked out of that program approximately three years prior, and during the past few weeks, had sent different forms of hate mail to the program, and/or its director,” Pratt wrote.

Murray’s expulsion from the school was confirmed by Cheryl Morrison, whose husband, George Morrison, is pastor of the Faith Bible Chapel adjacent to Y-WAM Arvada. She didn’t know specifics of the conflict.

“I don’t think that ‘run-in’ is the word, but they did have to dismiss him,” Cheryl Morrison said. “It had to be something of significance, because they go the nth degree with people.”

The search warrant affidavit shows that Murray assaulted New Life Church like a commando on a suicide mission.

**Yesterday's coverage here
*Update 3: Same gunman, Matthew Murray, at both shootings; Murray had worked with YWAM, sent threatening notes:
The shooter at both a missionary center and a church Sunday in Colorado was a man who once worked on a mission with the center, a source familiar with the events said Monday.

The source said the gunman -- who was killed by a security guard at the site of the second shooting -- was Matthew Murray.

The shootings left four people dead, in addition to the gunman, and five wounded.

The source -- a long-time member of New Life Church, site of the second shooting -- said Murray had a falling out with Youth With a Mission after working with the organization a couple of years ago and that he sent antagonistic and threatening correspondence afterward.

Murray fired on people at the missionary center in Arvada early Sunday, then drove to New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where the center has a satellite office, the source said.

Murray, carrying a great deal of ammunition, threw a smoke grenade into an area in which some people were gathered at the church after services, then got in his car and drove around to a different entrance, where he fired into a car -- killing two teenage girls and wounding their father, the source said.

Murray apparently fired at other cars as well, the source said.

A security guard confronted him and shot him.
One of the wounded--and a likely hero--Larry Bourbannais, a Vietnam veteran, ran toward the shooter to distract him as he was confronted by the security officer:
A Vietnam veteran is among the survivors, hit by gunfire at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Larry Bourbannais, 59, was eating a hamburger in the cafeteria on the church campus when he heard gunfire, said his daughter, Sherry Smith.

Bourbannais headed in the direction of the shots as frightened people ran past him looking to escape to safety.

"Where's the shooter, where's the shooter," my dad kept yelling, Smith said.

Smith, 28, and other family members met Bourbannais at a hospital Sunday where he was treated for a gunshot wound in the arm and released.

Bourbannais was alert at the hospital and told Smith in detail about the shooting.

Bourbannais came upon the gunman near an entry way in a building and yelled at him to draw his attention, Smith said.

That's when the shooter pointed a handgun at Bourbannais and fired, she said.

Bourbannais had ducked behind a hollow, decorative pillar and was hit in the arm by the bullet and fragments of the pillar.

At about that moment, a woman with a drawn handgun turned a corner and walked toward the gunman and yelled "Surrender," Smith said.

When the gunman pointed his weapon at the woman, she fired at him and kept walking toward him as she continued firing, Smith said.

"My dad said it was the bravest thing he had ever seen," Smith said.

The woman fired off about 10 to 12 shots as she kept walking toward the shooter.

After the gunman went down, Bourbannais asked the woman, who has only been identified as a volunteer security guard with the church, how she remained so calm and focused.

Smith said the woman told Bourbannais: "She was praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit."

**Update 2: The alleged gunman in the shootings at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is 23-year-old Matthew Murray, CNN confirms
; from 9NEWS, gunman described as a "loner," didn't talk to neighbors:
The identity of the gunman in the shooting at a 10,000-plus member mega-church has been uncovered by 9Wants to Know.

9Wants to Know has learned 24-year-old Matthew Murray was killed after opening fire at New Life Church on Sunday.

Murray was home schooled and his last known address was at his parents' home in unincorporated Arapahoe County – the same home investigators searched Sunday night.

9NEWS was unable to find a record of Murray earning a high school diploma in the Cherry Creek School District.

It is still unclear whether there is a connection between Murray and the shooting at an Arvada missionary training center.
Homeschooled and lived with his parents:
On Sunday evening, authorities from several jurisdictions searched Murray's home in unincorporated Arapahoe County.

Authorities could be seen coming and going from the home, and at one point searching the bushes in front and the back yard. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Arapahoe County bomb squad were also involved in the search at the home on East Berry Place and Havana Street.

After the lengthy search -- during which many boxes of material were removed -- authorities took down crime scene tape at 5:30 a.m. and left the home without disclosing what they found.

Neighbors said the family has lived at that home for 10-plus years and has two sons, one of which attends a religious school. A Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman said that Murray was homeschooled and she doesn't have any record of him attending a high school in the area or receiving a diploma.

Murray lives with his father, a neurologist with a practice in Lone Tree, his mother and brother.

"It's just crazy just hearing about it. I was thinking about how I knew them so long ago ... They were a really religious family," said neighbor Cody Askeland.

USA Today blog reports the gunman was carrying 500 rounds of ammunition, and worked on a mission with the first group targeted in Sunday's shootings.

**Update: no BOLO issued after Arvada shooting; RMN issues bios for Arvada victims--Tiffany Johnson, Philip Crouse, Dan Griebenow, and Charlie Blanch; witnesses describe shooter, gunfire at New Life church; New Life church members suspect anti-Christian motivations for the shooting:
A few members speculated that the attack was motivated by hatred for Christianity, or New Life Church in particular.

“You get a lot of weird looks when you say you go to New Life,” said a member who declined to give her name. “It’s just a lot of judgment because we’re so big.”

Another New Life member saw a possible link with a shooting that killed two staff members at a missionary training center early Sunday in Arvada, a Denver suburb.

“Something’s going on,” said Melanie Vaughn. “I think people are so bitter about Christians. There are a lot of issues, killing, stealing and destroying. I think some people think the church is an easy target.”

An update on victims of the Colorado Springs shooting:
Police today identified two teenagers as the victims who were fatally shot in Sunday’s attack on New Life Church.

According to a statement to media outlets, the dead were 18-year-old Stephanie Works and 16-year-old Rachael Works.

The two girls were sisters, Pastor Brady Boyd said this morning.

The other shooting victims included:
David Works, 51, who suffered two gunshot wounds to the abdomen. He was listed in fair condition at Penrose Hospital.

Judy Purcell, 40, who suffered a gunshot wound to the right shoulder. She was treated at the hospital and released.

Larry Bourbannais, 59, who suffered a gunshot wound to the left forearm. He was treated at the hospital and released.

Pastor Boyd praised the quick reaction of the courageous female volunteer security officer who he credited with saving more lives:
The gunman was killed by a member of the church's volunteer security staff before police arrived.

"He never got more than 50 feet inside our building," said Boyd. "(Our security guard) rushed toward the attacker and took him down in the hallway. She probably saved 100 lives."

Boyd said the church "looked like a war zone" and that about 40 shots were fired in all. He called it a "senseless random attack."

The security guard was a woman in plain clothes who volunteers with the church and uses her own personal weapon, Boyd said. She has a law enforcement background and is licensed to carry a weapon. Boyd said she was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did.
Not much detail on the house searched in Englewood, but witnesses at both shootings described the alleged shooter in the same way.

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