15-Year-Old Who Killed His Family with an AR-15 Had a Plan to Attack Walmart

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More details are emerging about Nehemiah Griego, the 15-year-old suspected gunman accused of shooting his father, mother, and three siblings to death with an AR-15 — and they add up to a gruesome picture of a teenager with a van packed with guns and a plan to shoot up his local Walmart in New Mexico. Here's what we've learned since the shooting early on Saturday:

  • Police have released the names of the victims:

Greg Griego 51, a former pastor with Calvary Church in Albuquerque, his wife Sara Greigo 40, and 9-year-old Zephania Griego, 5-year-old Jael Griego, and 2-year-old Angelina Griego.

  • Nehemiah Griego, Greg and Sarah's home-schooled son, shot his mother and his brothers in their beds multiple times at around 1 a.m. Saturday and then waited for his father, police said. There were 10 Griego children, but only the youngest were home on Friday night.
  • "[A]uthorities believe Nehemiah then put several loaded weapons, including the assault rifle, in the family van with the plan to drive to the nearest Walmart, gun down more people and eventually die in a shootout with police," report The Albuquerque Journal's Jeff Proctor and Patrick Lohmann. The Journal also reports that Griego called a friend before carrying out the rest of his plan, and that the friend got Griego to meet him at the church where Griego's father was a pastor. 
  • The two guns used in the shooting — an AR-15 assault rifle and a .22 caliber pistol — seem to have belonged to Griego's parents. Griego "had a minor disagreement with his mother on Friday night," The Journal reports, adding:

Authorities believe Nehemiah’s parents owned the guns. The weapons had been stored in a closet, not in a gun safe. They also believe Nehemiah may have had violent fantasies including killing and murder-suicide scenarios for much of his life.

  • And don't blame video games, because Griego was not allowed to play them. Again, from Proctor and Lohmann's Journal reporting:

Another neighbor said Nehemiah wanted to be a soldier. Although he always wore Army clothing and camouflage, Nehemiah wasn’t allowed to play violent video games, the neighbor said, since the boy’s parents didn’t allow anything “dirty or violent” and limited TV watching.

Griego is currently in a juvenile detention center, and authorities are looking more more information: "Nehemiah Griego was charged with two counts of murder and three counts of 'child abuse resulting in death.' A motive is unclear, and authorities plan to hold a news conference Tuesday," reports The New York Daily News's Erik Ortiz.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.