Local News
5:03 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Reports: Griego Teen Was "Talented," "Troubled"

(UPDATED 1/24/13) -  A private service will be held for the Griego family Friday.

15 year old Nehemiah Griego apparently gave a gruesome and very detailed confession to detectives after his arrest for shooting and killing five immediate family members.

Read latest details on confession from KOAT-TV

(UPDATED 1/23/13am)

The family of the New Mexico teen accused of killing his parents and three younger siblings says they're heartbroken over the deaths and concerned about any potential politicization of the tragedy.

The boy's uncle, Eric Griego, said in an emailed statement Tuesday that the family also is concerned about the media's portrayal of 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego.

Authorities say the teen gunned down five family members on Saturday and planned to open fire randomly at a Wal-Mart using weapons that belonged to his parents.

The shootings come amid a national debate over gun control. President Barack Obama has proposed a series of measures to curb violence.

The Griego family says "those who wish to score political points should not use a confused, misguided 15-year-old boy to make their case." The pastor of the church where a teen went after allegedly gunning down five family members says the church community is stunned.

Calvary church Pastor Skip Heitzig said in a statement Tuesday, "We are doing what we can as a church body to minister to the remaining family members."

Fifteen-year-old Nehemiah Griego went to the church hours after his father, mother and three younger siblings were shot on Saturday. Church officials called 911 and took Griego to his home, where he was arrested that night.

Griego's father, Greg, was a gang member-turned pastor. He once served at Calvary, one of Albuquerque's largest Christian churches. He had an extensive arrest record from his gang days, but was best known throughout the law enforcement community for his work as a voluntary chaplain.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston (right) with Lieutenant Sid Covington speaking at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston (right) with Lieutenant Sid Covington speaking at a press conference Tuesday morning.
Credit Barron Jones

(UPDATED 1/22/13)

Authorities say the teenager accused of gunning down his family over the weekend had reloaded his guns after the attacks and planned to go to a Wal-Mart and randomly shoot people.

Instead, they say 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego texted a picture of his dead mother to his 12-year-old girlfriend, then spent much of Saturday with her. The two went to the church where his father had been a pastor, and Griego eventually confessed to killing his parents and three younger siblings.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston says Griego had planned the attack for a week, but it's unclear if he ever actually went to a Wal-Mart or why he changed his mind. He said he had planned to randomly shoot more people, then die in a shootout with law enforcement.

The teenager will be arraigned this afternoon at 1:30. The county's prosecutor's office suggested this morning that he would be charged as an adult.

Griego was arrested Saturday at his home in a rural area southwest of Albuquerque. 

***

The New Mexico teenager accused of fatally shooting his parents and three younger siblings told police he had been having homicidal and suicidal thoughts.

According to a probable cause statement, a Bernalillo County sheriff's detective questioned 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego on Saturday about the killings at the family home in a rural area southwest of Albuquerque.

The statement says Griego told the detective he first shot his mother as she was sleeping and then shot a younger brother in the same room and then two younger sisters in another.

It says he then told the detective he waited for his father to return home and then gunned him down.

Sheriff's spokesman Deputy Aaron Williamson said Monday he couldn't immediately comment on the document.

The sheriff's office has identified the victims of the shooting as 51-year-old Greg Griego, his 40-year-old wife Sara Griego, and the children: 9-year-old Zephania Griego, 5-year-old Jael Griego, and 2-year-old Angelina Griego.

Nehemiah Griego has been arrested on murder and other charges in connection with the shootings, which happened Saturday night in a rural area southwest of downtown Albuquerque.

Police say that "multiple weapons" were found at the scene. KOB-TV reports that the teenager used an AR-15 semi automatic rifle in the shooting.

Investigators say they won't release any more information until Sheriff Dan Houston holds a news conference Tuesday at 10am.

KUNM will provide further details as they become available.