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Nehemiah Gringo Case: Memorial service planned for family allegedly slain by New Mexico teen

This undated photo provided by Eric Griego shows Nehemiah Griego. Nehemiah Griego is charged with killing five family members, including his father, mother, and three youngest siblings in Albuquerque, N.M. on Jan. 19. Authorities in New Mexico say Griego had reloaded his guns after the attacks and planned to go to a Wal-Mart and randomly shoot people. Instead, they say he texted a picture of his dead mother to his 12-year-old girlfriend, then spent much of Saturday with her. The two went to the church where his father had been a pastor, and Griego eventually confessed to killing his parents and three younger siblings. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Eric Griego)

Nehemiah Griego
AP Photo/Courtesy of Eric Griego

(CBS/AP) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Family and friends will gather at a New Mexico church on Friday to mourn the deaths of a former pastor, his wife and their three youngest children who were allegedly shot by the eldest child, 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego on Jan. 19.

Friends said Nehemiah's father, a gang member-turned pastor, raised the family in the Christian faith. Greg Griego, 51, went on missions to Mexico and conducted prayer sessions with former jail inmates and weekly Bible study gatherings. Nehemiah also participated in jam sessions with the Calvary Albuquerque's youth band and pickup basketball games at the church.

But now Nehemiah is facing murder and child abuse charges in the deaths of his family - Greg Griego, his wife, 40-year-old Sarah Griego, and three of their children: 9-year-old Zephania Griego and daughters Jael Griego, 5, and Angelina Griego, 2, all of whom were found shot to death inside their rural home south of Albuquerque.

An hour-long prayer vigil on Wednesday night drew an estimated 2,000 people.

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.

Detectives continue to pour over evidence gathered last weekend at the Griego home. They are also reviewing text messages and calls between Griego and his 12-year-old girlfriend, as well as security video from the church where the teen apparently spent much of the day following the early morning shootings.

After the killings, authorities allege that Griego reloaded his parents' two semi-automatic rifles, put them in the family van and planned to gun down Wal-Mart shoppers. Sheriff Dan Houston has said investigators have no information that Griego actually went to a Wal-Mart that day.

Complete coverage of Nehemiah Griego on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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