Despite Shots From Security Guard, 24-Year-Old Murray Killed Himself

The man who killed four people at a church died of self-inflicted gunshot wound.

ByABC News via logo
February 26, 2009, 7:53 PM

Dec. 11, 2007 — -- The 24-year-old who killed four people at the New Life Church in Colo. was killed by his own bullet.

Police say though he was shot several times by a security officer, who has since been heralded for saving the lives of other potential shooting victims, it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound that killed Matthew Murray.

A picture of the gunman who killed four people at a megachurch and a youth center in Colorado is emerging.

It turns out that Murray was no stranger to Youth With a Mission training center, where his killing spree began.

Five years ago, Murray signed up for the program, but when it came time for field training, he was told he wasn't stable enough to travel with the other students, according to the Rev. Peter Warren, the director of the program.

"The program directors felt that the issues related to his health made it unsafe for him to do so," said Warren. "Our hearts go out to the Murray family, to who we extend the spirit of love and compassion."

Murray was shot and killed by Jeanne Assam, a volunteer security guard and New Life Church member, but not before he killed four people and injured five others.

Vietnam veteran Larry Bourbannais, 59, was shot in the left forearm by Murray at The New Life Church and was one of the last people to see him alive.

"When he looked at me, it was just a blank stare like he's gonna kill me," Bourbannais said. "Just when the chill went through me is when I heard those guns shots that when I knew it was the real deal."

Murray, the son of a prominent neurologist, grew up in Englewood, Colo., and was home-schooled in what's been described as a deeply religious family. A computer enthusiast, Murray had only only one previous brush with the law a traffic ticket earlier this year.

The Rev. Phil Abeyta, Murray's uncle, spoke on behalf of the family, who he said are grief-striken over the shootings.

"On behalf of our family and our son we ask for forgiveness," Abeyta said in a statement. "We cannot understand why this has happened. We ask for prayer for the victims and their families during this time of grief."

Murray sent hate mail to the Youth With a Mission in the past, and Denver TV station KUSA reported that he posted several rants on a Web site for people who have left evangelical religious groups. The most recent post was Sunday morning, the station said, but it was removed after the killings.