Maps found in killer Matthew Murray’s car after he fatally shot four people at an Arvada missionary center and a Colorado Springs church suggest he targeted others that night.
Cell phone transmissions indicate in the hours before he attacked Youth With a Mission, he stood two blocks away from where a Gnostic group called the Ad Astra Oasis was meeting. They had spurned Murray just as Youth With a Mission had dismissed him from a mission to Bosnia.
The Gnostic group had a mass scheduled at 8 p.m. Dec. 8.
“The doors were locked when the mass started, and the members wonder if Matthew showed up and could not get in,” according to a police report.
That night Murray left a cell phone message for Jennifer Cali, a member of the group, saying he “forgives you guys.”
Investigators also found a map of the location of a former co-worker’s residence. Murray had been laid off from CTI, police said, and there had been conflicts there between Murray and his co-workers.
Arvada police released a report detailing these events along with hundreds of pages of other documents Thursday pertaining to the killings in December.
The report includes 550 hundreds of photos of Murray’s bedroom and the bloody scene at YWAM; a list of the contents of his computer, including adult and child pornography; and voluminous information about previous mass shootings in Omaha, at Virginia Tech and Columbine.
There are detailed descriptions of his blog postings; a timeline, including his whereabouts and significant cellphone conversations before and after the YWAM shootings; and interviews with people he called during that time, as well as with his family.
Early on Dec. 9, 24-year-old Murray fatally shot Tiffany Johnson, 26, and Philip Crouse, 24, at the mission facility, 12750 W. 63rd Ave., in Arvada.
About 12 hours later, he killed sisters Stephanie, 18, and Rachel Works, 16, outside New Life Church in Colorado Springs.
Jeanne Assam, a member of the church who
was serving as a security guard at New Life that day, shot Murray. He then shot himself in the head with a Springfield 9mm pistol, the same gun he had used to kill Johnson and Crouse.
Much of the new information comes as a result of a search warrant served on Murray’s home in Arapahoe County on the night of the shootings. He lived there with his mother, Loretta Murray, and his father, Ronald Murray, a neurosurgeon.
Matthew Murray’s room was “in disarray,” the report said. Officials found ammunition but no explosive devices. There was a book called “Practical Homicide: How to Survive a Tactical Shooting.” Other books found were on witchcraft, Satanism and the Masons. The books were “clearly visible,” the report said.
The Arvada police report indicates that experts found more than 500,000 images on Murray’s computer, including adult pornography, child pornography and homosexual pornography.
Murray family spokeswoman Casey Nikoloric said Thursday that family members were stunned.
“I think it’s a very complicated story and a tragic one,” Nikoloric said. “What strikes me is there is a national call to action in this story; that we all have to do a better job in reacting to the lonely and disaffected among us.”
In the days leading up to his rampage, Murray called friends and family, many repeatedly. It was clear he was suicidal; it wasn’t clear to them that when he called them he had already killed and was intent on killing others.
After the shootings at the missionary training center, Murray told his cousin Gabe Lapoint and his father, Ron, that he had assaulted a waitress at Applebee’s and that police were after him. Although a waitress remembers Murray as a “creepy” customer who ordered a banana berry smoothie and a riblet platter, she says there was no confrontation.
Lapoint had told Murray’s parents that their son was despondent. Ron Murray cancelled a trip and headed home.
Sunday morning at about 9 a.m. he told his mother how difficult it was driving the night before in a snowstorm, then wished happy birthday to a 17-year-old girl who had an overnight party at his parent’s home the night before.
“It’s bewildering to think how cordial he was at the time, recognizing that the young man had already killed and had the intention of killing more people,” Nikoloric said. “He seemed fine.”
He was scraping ice from the windows of his car and had a small suitcase with him. His mother assumed he was preparing to go to church, Nikoloric said.
Murray’s parents had no idea he had been stockpiling weapons, she said.
The investigation revealed that Murray legally purchased $2,700 in ammunition, magazines and supplies from CheaperThanDirt.com. He had legally purchased five weapons, all in his own name. He had altered one, a Bushmaster XM-15, to allow it to fire a larger 6.8mm round. That was the gun he used to kill the Works sisters.
Police said Murray left no note or web posting to explain why he chose New Life and YWAM.
His brother Christopher Murray had was perplexed why his brother would target New Life.
“It was possible Matthew wanted to gun down as many people as possible and New Life was the largest non-denominational Christian church in Colorado,” he said.
However, Christopher Murray admitted that his brother was prone to go into uncontrollable rages with no provocation, like the time he ripped up his music book or broke things.
“There were times growing up I was a little scared of Matthew,” he told police.
Though family members said Murray was not taking medications for a diagnosed psychological condition, several of his friends, coworkers and associates said that he was taking medications for bipolar disorder. YWAM leaders were worried about Murray, who seemed unstable, going to unstable Bosnia.
“Matthew had been talking about hearing voices and there had been some discussion about drugs and bipolar issues,” YWAM leader Peter Warren told police. “The staff as a whole became freaked out about Matthew and his behavior.”
Murray called Deborah Wittrein, an acquaintance from Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren, around midnight, minutes before he went to YWAM. He was distraught.
“I’m tired of being picked on; put upon,” Wittrein quoted him as saying. “I’m really tired of not being noticed.”
She made him promise he wouldn’t commit suicide, then he abruptly hung up while she was speaking.
Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org