Matthew Murray was an American gunman who on December 9, 2007 killed four people in the Youth With A Mission and New Life Church shootings before taking his own life.
Matthew Murray was one of two sons of a prominent Colorado neurologist and was home schooled by his mother Loretta in a suburb of Denver, in what friends and neighbors described as a deeply religious Christian home. Because of his background and his killing of fellow Christians, American Christians have sought answers to what FoxNews.com columnist Lauren Green has called “senseless murder”.
Jeanne Assam, a New Life Church volunteer security guard, shot Matthew Murray several times with her personally-owned concealed weapon. After Murray was wounded, he killed himself with a shotgun.
According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, Matthew Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Pastor Brady Boyd estimated that about 7,000 people were on the church campus at the time of the shooting.
Motives of Matthew Murray
Police initially claimed when supporting a search warrant that Murray had recently sent hate mail to the Youth With A Mission training center–but later retracted the statement, stating that Matthew Murray sent e-mails to an affiliated group in which he criticized Christians but did not threaten violence. He had been dismissed from the school’s program three years earlier. Murray self-identified with Seung-Hui Cho, Eric Harris, and former Children of God member Ricky Rodriguez.
Before the shooting Matthew Murray left several violent and threatening messages on several religious websites, espousing his hatred for Christianity and his intentions on killing as many Christians as possible.
One message read: “I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the teeth and I WILL shoot to kill… God, I can’t wait till I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don’t care if I live or die in the shoot-out. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you as I can, especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.”
This posting demonstrates that Matthew Murray was influenced by Columbine perpetrator Eric Harris, who left the following message on his website prior to his own killing spree: “I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the fucking teeth and I WILL shoot to kill… God, I can’t wait til I can kill you people. Feel no remorse, no sense of shame. I don’t care if I live or die in the shoot-out. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you as I can, especially a few people. Like Brooks Brown.”
Investigators obtained copies of Murray’s writings and studied other Web sites. Their probe revealed that his writings, which spanned several months, became increasingly violent. Some web users tried to counsel Murray and one psychologist even offered her services after reading his poem called “Crying all alone in pain in the nightmare of Christianity”. Matthew Murray refused her offer.
Other Religious Affiliations
The Associated Press has reported that “Interviews and Murray’s Internet postings depict him as a disturbed young man who was bitter about being an outcast, turned against charismatic Christianity and dabbled in other beliefs.” Matthew Murray was also a member of Ad Astra Oasis of Ordo Templi Orientis before being asked to leave that organization.
Letter to God
KMGH-TV reported that a letter to God was found in Murray’s car asking Jesus for answers to plaintive questions such as “What have I done so wrong? What is wrong with me anyways? Am I really such a bad person?” and “why didn’t you ever answer my cries?”.
The letter was photographed and published on KMGH’s website. In the photograph, four words were obscured by black marks. These may be obscenities; both the Associated Press and KMGH reported that the letter was “laced with expletives”, but otherwise did not indicate the nature of those four words.
Matthew Murray killed himself at the scene of his crime.