Shooter Matthew Murray posted reworked writing of Columbine killer between attacks

A ranting screed was left on a website between shootings Sunday by the man who police say killed four people at two religious organizations.

Authorities are now investigating the posting, which copies from a manifesto written by Columbine killer Eric Harris before the 1999 high school massacre.

Matthew J. Murray, 24, who police say carried out attacks at the Youth With a Mission dormitory in Arvada and New Life Church in Colorado Springs, left behind final words that are rearranged but otherwise largely word-for-word the same as Harris’ writings.

The writing, first reported by 9News, was confirmed as Murray’s work by investigating authorities. He posted the message at 11:03 a.m. on a website for people who have left organized religion, almost 11 hours after the Arvada shooting and two hours before the Colorado Springs attack.

“You christians brought this on yourselves,” Murray writes in his 452-word harangue. “I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill.

“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.”

In his notebooks, Harris proclaimed: “I’m coming for EVERYONE soon, and I WILL be armed to the (expletive) teeth, and I will shoot to kill.”

The only substantive change Murray made to the Harris writing is replacing the name of Harris’ target, classmate and neighbor Brooks Brown, with “Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.”

Authorities believe Murray’s motive was revenge after he was spurned by the missionary organization, which also has offices on the New Life Church campus.

Killed in Arvada were Tiffany Johnson, 26, and Philip Crouse, 24. Sisters Stephanie Works, 18, and Rachael 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.

“It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God,” said Assam, a former Minneapolis police officer. “I wasn’t going to wait for him to do other damage. I knew what I had to do.”

Hate mail sent to group

Three years ago, Murray was kicked out of the Youth With a Mission program in Arvada, and in the past few weeks he had sent “different forms of hate mail to the program” and its director, according to a search warrant affidavit made public Monday.

Denver’s Youth With a Mission director, Peter Warren, confirmed that Murray had been with the organization five years ago in training for missionary work.

The organization decided against sending Murray on a mission because “issues with his health made it unsafe for him to do so,” Warren said in a news conference but did not elaborate.

Warren said no one could recall whether Murray had visited or contacted the organization since he had been let go.

Arvada police said they were looking at Murray as a possible suspect in the Sunday morning dormitory shooting before the Colorado Springs shooting. Police began searching the Arapahoe County home where Murray lived with his parents, neurosurgeon Donald S. Murray and his wife, Loretta, hours after the New Life shooting.

The Rev. Phil Abeyta of His Love Fellowship church in Denver, who also was Murray’s uncle, read a statement from the Murray family.

“Our family cannot express the magnitude of our grief for the victims. We ask for forgiveness. We cannot understand why this has happened.”

Murray was home-schooled and briefly attended Arapahoe Community College. Officials with Colorado Christian University said last year he had enrolled in the school but quickly dropped out.

Cody Askeland, 21, who lives near the family’s home said he knew Matthew Murray’s younger brother, Chris, from the neighborhood and had heard loose talk that Matthew Murray had behavioral problems.

Askeland said on Monday that he did not make the connection between the shootings and Murray even after he saw police and reporters on the block Sunday evening.

“It’s just weird to see all this and have it be someone on your block,” he said.

On Monday, details about Murray’s final moments emerged from authorities in news conferences and court documents.

Police say the 11 a.m. service was letting out about 1 p.m. in the north Colorado Springs church when Murray began walking through the parking lot with five guns and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his backpack. He had more weaponry in his car.

Sgt. Jeff Jensen said Murray was parked about 25 feet from the Workses’ van when he walked up to the vehicle and opened fire. The Works family was either seated in the van or just outside the vehicle, he said.

Stephanie Works, 18, who died at the scene, had just returned from a mission to China. She had gone on the trip with students from Liberty High School. Her sister, Rachael, 16, died Sunday night at Penrose Hospital. Their father, David Works, 51, was in stable condition.

Jensen said the girls’ mother and another girl — Rachael’s twin — witnessed the shooting.

Murray ignited two commercial-grade smoke devices before he went into the church.

He fired at Judy Purcell, 40, who was shot in the right shoulder while in a car.

Purcell is a teacher in the “High Country” program at New Life Church. She provides enrichment opportunities for families who home-schooled their students.

Assam heard the shots and walked 100 yards through a hallway in the building before she engaged Murray.

“People were running away from where the shots were fired,” Assam said. “The shots were so loud I thought he was inside.”

Assam crouched and waited for Murray to get closer. She was at the end of a three-day fast and had been praying that her church would be safe after learning about the shooting in Arvada hours before.

“I was just asking God, bottom line, this is all you,” she said. “It was so loud. … It was scary. But God was with me. I asked him to be with me. And he never left my side.”

Police say tests are still being conducted to determine whether Murray died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or was killed by one of Assam’s bullets.

New Life Church’s senior pastor, Brady Boyd, said Monday that the 10,000-member church had a 15- or 20-member volunteer security team because they have an obligation to keep staffers and parishioners safe.

“That’s the reality of our world,” Boyd said. “I don’t think any of us grew up in churches where that was a reality, but today it is.”

Sidebar: Venomous Web posting replicates Columbine shooter’s manifesto

A diatribe was posted at 11:03 a.m. Sunday on a website devoted to people who have left religion. Investigating authorities believe it was left by gunman Matthew Murray. With the exception of two minor changes, some rearranging and the final paragraph, the text was originally written as a manifesto by Columbine killer Eric Harris. Some expletives from the Harris version were replaced by Murray with symbols. Other expletives were removed for publication, where noted.

The final paragraph comes from lyrics from the song “Anarchy” by the band KMFDM.

You christians brought this on yourselves

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.

Well all you people out there can just kiss my (expletive removed) and die. From now on I don’t give a @#%$ about what all you (expletive removed) have to say, unless I respect you which is highly unlikely, but for those of you who do happen to know me and know that I respect you, may peace be with you and don’t be in my line of fire, for the rest of you, you all better @#%$ hide in your houses because I’m coming for EVERYONE soon, and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth, and I WILL shoot to kill and I WILL @#%$ KILL EVERYTHING! No I am not crazy, crazy is just a word, to me it has no meaning, everyone is different, but most of you @#%$ heads out there in society, going to your everyday @#%$ jobs and doing your everyday routine (expletive removed) things, I say @#%$ you and die, if you got a problem with my thoughts, come to me and I’ll kill you, because……..God (expletive removed), DEAD PEOPLE DON’T ARGUE! My belief is that if I say something, it goes. I am the law. If you don’t like it, you die. If I don’t like you or I don’t like what you want me to do, then you die. If I do something incorrect, oh @#%$ well, you die. Dead people can’t do many things, like argue, whine, @#%$, complain, name, rat out, criticize, or even @#%$ talk. So that’s the only way to solve arguments with all you (expletive removed) out there, I just kill. God I can’t wait till I can kill you people, I’ll just go to some downtown area in some big city and blow up and shoot everything I can.

You break my back but you won’t break me…..all is black but I still see…shut me down, knock me to the floor…..shoot me up, @#%$ me like a whore….trapped under ice, comfortably cold, I’ve gone as low as you can go….. feel no remorse, no sorrow or shame……time’s gonna wash away all pain I made a God out of blood not superiority I killed the king of deceit and now I sleep in anarchy.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday December 11, 2007.
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