ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After killing his parents and three younger siblings at home, 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego reloaded an assault rifle and a .22-caliber rifle and planned to go somewhere “populated” and randomly shoot more people until he could be killed in a shootout with law enforcement, authorities said.
The teen also sent a picture of his dead mother to his girlfriend, and met her and her grandmother at the church where his father used to work, according to charging documents.
It wasn’t immediately clear if that contact avoided further bloodshed. But a statement of probable cause says Griego spent time at the church, first talking to his girlfriend and her grandmother and then meeting with the church pastor and a security guard.
Church officials called authorities, and Griego initially told arriving officers he had come home Saturday morning after spending time at a friend’s house to discover his family dead.
The teen later confessed to shooting his mother because he “had anger issues” and was annoyed with her, the charging document said. He said he killed his siblings after they woke up and became upset, then grabbed his parents’ assault rifle and waited in the downstairs bathroom to ambush his father.
After killing his father, Griego said he reloaded the guns so “he could drive to a populated area to murder more people,” according to the statement.
His plan, the statement said, was to “shoot people at random and eventually be killed while exchanging gunfire with law enforcement.”
Bernallillo County sheriff’s officials planned a midmorning news conference Tuesday to release more details in the case.
Griego, meanwhile, remained in custody on charges of murder and child abuse resulting in death. He was arrested Saturday at his family’s home in a rural area southwest of Albuquerque.
Detectives spent two days collecting evidence and trying to piece together what led to the attacks.
“There’s no other way to say it, except that we have a horrific crime scene down there that we are working on,” Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said Sunday.
The detectives had finished their work at the home by Monday afternoon. The metal gate at the home’s entrance was shut, a small bouquet of purple flowers was on the top of the gate, and at each side there were religious signs, including one that read “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
The sheriff’s office identified the victims as Greg Griego, 51, his wife, Sarah Griego, 40, and three of their children: a 9-year-old boy, Zephania Griego, and daughters Jael Griego, 5, and Angelina Griego, 2. All appeared to have gunshot wounds to the head.
A sheriff’s detective questioned the teen Saturday night, and the details of their conversation were spelled out in the statement.