ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – More than 2,000 people gathered at an Albuquerque church to remember five members of a New Mexico family gunned down in their home last weekend. There were also prayers for the 15-year-old son and brother charged with the killings.
Following a police escort, chaplains and members of the Albuquerque Fire Department lined the procession. Bagpipes played at the memorial service Friday and the urns of former pastor Greg Griego, his wife Sarah and their three young children were carried into the one of the city’s largest churches.
Family members recalled Greg Griego’s lumbering walk, his hearty laugh and his endless commitment to helping others to turn their lives around. His wife, known for her cooking, and their children were just as much a part of that ministry. The family was always a front-row fixture at church services.
The crowd prayed for the Griegos and for their son Nehemiah, who remains in custody.
Annette Griego, one of Greg Griego’s adult daughters, told those at the service that her father was a man whose heart was after God.
“My dad never gave up on me. He never gave up on any of us. He never stopped giving us Jesus and so I know he would want us to do the exact same thing for our brother, Nehemiah,” she said. “So if you wonder where we stand, we stand alongside our brother.”
“We stand confident that God will take this tragedy and use it for something good,” she said.
News of the slayings has reverberated throughout the community, where Greg Griego _ a former gang member turned pastor _ was known for his work with jail inmates, his service at local rescue missions and his spiritual guidance for firefighters and members of the military.
Friends said Greg Griego and his teenage son went on missions to Mexico and that the boy was a talented drummer who played with the church’s youth band.
On Friday, family, friends and members of the Calvary Albuquerque church who watched the boy grow up continued to struggle, trying to make sense of the tragedy.
Nehemiah Griego was just a normal teen to Vince Harrison, a former police officer who had known the family for about 10 years through his security work at the church.
“He did not fit the criteria of a kid who was crazy into guns and wanted to hurt people. That’s absolutely false,” Harrison said.
Nehemiah Griego is facing murder and child abuse charges in the deaths of his parents and three younger siblings _ all found shot to death inside their rural home south of Albuquerque on Jan. 19.
Detectives were at the home for two days collecting evidence. They also have been reviewing text messages and calls between the boy and his 12-year-old girlfriend and security video from Calvary, where the teen apparently spent much of the day following the early morning shootings.
After the killings, authorities allege that Nehemiah Griego reloaded his parents’ two semi-automatic rifles and put them in the family van and planned to gun down Wal-Mart shoppers.
Public defender Jeff Buckels said he will consult with mental health experts and investigate the effects of violent video games. Authorities have said Griego liked to play “Modern Warfare” and “Grand Theft Auto.”
Follow Susan Montoya Bryan on Twitter:
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Affordable small home makeovers for Mother's Day
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life