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15-year-old confesses to killing family, wanted shootout, police say

January 21, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies investigate the scene of a multiple homicide in Albuquerque over the weekend. A 15-year-old boy confessed to shooting his parents and three young siblings, authorities said.
Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies investigate the scene of a… (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Associated…)

A 15-year-old Albuquerque boy has confessed to killing his mother, father and three small siblings in a rampage at their home early Saturday morning, according to a probable cause statement by authorities. 

The boy also told police he wanted to "drive to a populated area" to "shoot people at random and eventually be killed while exchanging gunfire with law enforcement," according to the statement, which was posted online by local media.

But after the killings at his family's home, the boy went to church.

At the Calvary Church, where his father had been a pastor, he began to spin stories that would later unravel under interrogation. According to court documents, after arriving at the church, the boy told his girlfriend and her grandmother that his family had died in a car crash.

The document doesn't say how police were led to the boy's home, but after they discovered the bodies, the boy told officers that he found the bodies and wasn't home at the time of the shooting. According to the statement, he called his father's body a "carcass."

The father, a chaplain who volunteered with the local fire department, had been shot in the head with a military-style AR-15 rifle, police said – the type of rifle used in the massacres in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo.

The boy's case is being handled by the juvenile court system. He has not been charged as an adult.

The boy's interrogator, who signed the statement as "A. Gaitan," slowly set out the boy's initial comments to investigators: He admitted that, yes, he'd packed guns into the family van he drove to church; yes, he had fired them, but in the backyard, and only "in anger" after discovering his family's bodies; and yes, he did touch the shell casings.

When the police interviewer told the boy, who said he didn't want an attorney or an adult present, that his story didn't make sense, the youngster confessed, police said. He said he had "anger issues" and had been "annoyed" with his mother.

Around midnight, early Saturday morning, the boy began to feel homicidal and suicidal, took a .22 rifle out of his parents' closet, and shot his mother in the head, police said. She was in bed with the boy's 9-year-old brother, who woke, and then became upset. The boy shot him too, according to police.

At that point, according to police documents, the boy "lost his conscience" and shot his 5- and 2-year-old sisters in the head in their bedroom, where they were crying.

The boy set down the .22 rifle for the much higher velocity .223-caliber AR-15 that had also been in his parent's closet, police said.

Armed with the AR-15, the boy hid in a bathroom until his father came home about 5 a.m., police said.

The boy "stated he hid and waited until his father had walked past him and he then shot his father multiple times with the rifle," the probable cause statement said.

The statement's author, Gaitan,  learned about the youth's plans to die in a large public shooting with police, though the boy still had another detail to share.

"I asked [the boy] if he had told anyone else about murdering his family," Gaitan wrote, "and he stated he had taken a picture of his deceased mother and sent it to his girlfriend."

It's not clear who the guns belonged to. Friends described the father as a former "gang-banger" before beginning his years as a chaplain. Neighbors told local media that the boy had been home-schooled and that the family's children were forbidden from watching violent or objectionable media.

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