February 28, 2008

Colorado's December Missionary Shootings--More Details Emerge

Matthew Murray


Matthew Murray went home after the first round of shooting at a missionary training center in Arvada, slept in his own bed, and then left home once again, attacking New Life Church in Colorado Springs, killing four in all (extensive previous coverage). President Bush honored heroine Jeanne Assam, whose quick action helped save lives at New Life Church.

Jeanne Assam

More details have emerged, as the parents opened up to Focus on the Family radio:
The parents of a gunman who went on a shooting rampage at two religious campuses say they were not "clued in" to the depths of his bitterness.

The parents of Matthew Murray talked to 9Wants to Know through their spokeswoman, saying they are finally ready to talk about their struggle.

In December, Murray, 24, killed two staffers at a missionary training school in Arvada and two teenage sisters outside New Life Church in Colorado Springs the next morning.

In between the shootings, Ronald and Loretta Murray say he came home to sleep in his own bed. They talked to him that night and had an inclination that something was wrong.

Ronald called Matthew from a business trip about 1:30 a.m., two hours after the attack at Youth With a Mission in Arvada and said Matthew seemed agitated and out of breath. He told his father he'd been in a fight at an Applebees restaurant.

The next morning, Loretta says Matthew told her he was going to church. That is when she believes he drove to New Life Church and killed two people before taking his own life.

Ronald said his son "had never expressed a desire for violence toward anybody," and that neither he nor Matthew's mother knew he owned weapons. "We were not clued in to the depth of his bitterness."

The Murrays say Matthew was laid off a few months before the shootings. They say he was upset that the computer company where he worked let him go because there wasn't enough work.

Matthew had told his parents the night of the shootings in Arvada that he was going out with friends that night for his birthday. The cousin called Loretta just before midnight, sharing his concern about Matthew's emotional state.

She said she prayed; called her husband, who was out of town on a business trip; and urged him to call their son. She then broke down in tears, "crying out to God for Matthew."
Murray's homeschooling and possible mental state were also discussed by his parents:
In Internet writings Matthew had been posting for months before the shooting, he raged against his strict religious upbringing and home schooling. His parents say they do not believe the home schooling had anything to do with the violence.

They said they taught him about generosity, truthfulness and forgiveness.
. . .

Murray's parents say to their knowledge, Murray was not on any prescription medication, but they say he suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and had taken Ritalin in the past.

Murray's parents say he stopped taking that at his own request six years before the shootings.

An autopsy on his body found he had ingested amphetamine and the tranquilizer benzodiazepine, which is sold under several brand names - including Xanax.

Murray's parents say they didn't know he was the gunman in both shootings until late Sunday night when, after searching the family home, officers told them their son was dead and they believed he was the gunman in both incidents.

They believe their son had problems communicating and writing because of his ADHD, was brilliant at computers, and felt rejected and marginalized, unable to forgive his perceived tormentors.

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