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December 11, 2007

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is the gunman who opened fire at the New Life Church campus, killing four people. Matthew Murray is said to have been looking for revenge after having been turned down by a missionary organisation that shares the campus:

Authorities believe that Matthew J. Murray, 24, was motivated by revenge after he was spurned by the missionary organization that also has offices on the New Life Church campus.

Murray has been identified as the gunman who carried out attacks at the Youth with a Mission dormitory in Arvada and New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Killed in Arvada were Tiffany Johnson, 26, and Phillip Crouse, 24. Sisters Stephanie Works, 18, and Rachel Works, 16, were slain in Colorado Springs.

Officials confirmed that bullet casings found in both locations were fired by a handgun found on Murray, who was killed by New Life Church volunteer security guard, Jeanne Assam, 42.

That's most Christian of Matthew Murray, don't you think? Bearing a grudge and seeking revenge? Someone who doesn't understand the concept of turning the other cheek is obviously not good missionary material. He didn't have a criminal record though:

The killer who opened fire at two Christian centers, killing four people and wounding five others, apparently had never been in trouble with the law before.

Matthew Murray, who turned 24 five days before he unleashed terror on religious centers in Arvada and Colorado Springs, spent three to five hours a day on his home computer, taking classes and, in recent weeks, sending hate mail to the missionary training center where the shootings began.

Murray - who was positively linked to both shootings through ballistics - died after a shootout with a security guard at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. That deadly confrontation came after attacks on the Youth With A Mission center in Arvada early Sunday morning and on New Life Church a little more than 12 hours later.

Investigators on Monday weren't sure whether the security guard, Jeanne Assam, killed Murray or he took his own life.

He'd actually been thrown out of the school itself, not just rejected as a possible missionary:

The gunman believed to have killed four people at a megachurch and a missionary training school had been thrown out of the school a few years ago and had been sending it hate mail, police said in court papers Monday.

The gunman was identified as Matthew Murray, 24, who was home-schooled in what a friend said was a deeply religious Christian household. Murray's father is a neurologist and a leading multiple-sclerosis researcher.

Five people - including Murray - were killed, and five others wounded Sunday in the two eruptions of violence 12 hours and 65 miles apart.

The first attack took place at Youth With a Mission, a training center for missionaries in the Denver suburb of Arvada; the other occurred at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where Murray was shot by a security guard, though investigators said he may have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Here's the news report on Matthew Murray.

And a wire report with the story.

December 11, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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I was researching the Colorado church killer last night, trying to understand a little better how a young person could be so angry to do what he did. As a parent, I am deeply saddened for the family of the murdered people, as well as for the family of the young man who did it. As a member of a spiritual community, it raised questions for me like, "Why didn't others see this situation brewing?" and "How can we prevent something like this from happening where we worship?"

I found a very interesting site listing all of his internet postings in one place. If you read what he posted these past few months, it is very sad. Perhaps one of the most telling entries is about 3/4 of the way down the page, in "entry #9" where he writes a poem about abuses he suffered. In reading his twisted words, perhaps we can all learn something from this senseless tragedy. His frame of mind does not justify his horrific actions, but perhaps it will help us understand how these things can happen. By understanding, hopefully, we can identify problems earlier in our spiritual communities, and do what we can to help those suffering from mental illness before they get this far...


To me, one of the greatest tragedies in all of this, is that any religion can be a source of comfort, of peace, and of healing, or it can be a source of strife and pain. IMHO, each religion holds a promise, if we use it to inspire us for good purposes. Like any gift, with "great power comes great responsibility". Religion can build communities, strengthen families, and bring peace to neighborhoods. It can also do exactly the opposite. We can use it to heal, or use it to hurt. I believe our intention, and our conscience, are key to knowing if we are on the right path.

I ask all of my dear, spiritual friends and family, from many different faiths, to join me in meditation or prayer (whatever is acceptable to you), in this time of reflection. Together, we can use this opportunity to be reminded to use our respective faiths to lessen the suffering of others. Whatever our faiths, where G-d's name is used (in vain) to cause pain instead of healing, let us make the necessary corrections, and do what we can to enable healing. Let us rededicate our efforts toward LOVE. Together, we CAN make a difference in how religion is used in this world.

With loving thoughts and prayers for all of the families who were affected...

Prayer for Compassion ~

Lord, help us to remember that others don't always see the way we do, hear what we hear, feel what we feel, or understand things the way we've come to understand them. You give each of us gifts that are uniquely ours but so often we fail to value the gift in another, judging other gifts as wrong or somehow less important than our own. Give us the compassion you want us to have, and teach us to embrace each other with compassionate arms, no matter what our age, color, creed, history, or belief. Help us to remember that you are Life Itself, and that you are using every one of our unique gifts to bring us together with you once again.


(prayer from http://www.revisionsplus.com/kmurray.html)

Wise words from the "Veleveteen Rabbi" website, applied to this tragedy, in regard to the two churches affected:

"May they be graced with wisdom, compassion, and the ability to move their communities forward toward justice and toward peace. Amen."

Posted by: Sad reader | Dec 12, 2007 11:04:29 PM

4 down, many more to go.

We need more brave people like this Matthew Murray. :|

The oppression at home has to stop.

Posted by: ClockCat | Dec 19, 2007 11:29:03 AM

Whomever wrote this article should do a little more research before judging a dead man, AND should check some facts.

Firstly, Matthew Murray died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Secondly, do you know what motivated Matthew Murray to do the things he did? Do you know of his childhood, the torture suffered at thehands of his mother and family, and the psychological damage done by years of cultist indoctrination?

Revenge for being kicked out the YWAM program hardly seems like a logical conclusion. Consider perhaps that he hated Christianity in general due to his backwards, hate-filled childhood, sheilded from reality and filled to the brim with cultist ideology.

This is what's wrong with America today. That our religions are used to conform and confine youth, to brainwash and browbeat and extinguish the Self. Pathetic.

Posted by: Sean Jeffries | Sep 17, 2009 10:15:57 PM