ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico teenager accused of gunning down his family over the weekend had reloaded his guns after the attacks and planned to go to a Wal-Mart and randomly shoot people, authorities said Tuesday.
Instead, 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego texted a picture of his dead mother to his 12-year-old girlfriend, then spent much of Saturday with the girl, they said. The two went to the church where his father had been a pastor, and Griego eventually admitted killing his parents and three younger siblings.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said Griego had planned the attack for a week, but it’s unclear if he ever actually went to a Wal-Mart or why he changed his mind. The teen said he had planned to randomly shoot more people, then die in a shootout with law enforcement, according to authorities.
Griego told detectives he also contemplated killing his girlfriend’s parents, Houston said at a news conference.
The teen was set to appear in adult court Tuesday on charges of murder and child abuse resulting in death. He was arrested Saturday at his family’s home in a rural area southwest of Albuquerque.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Griego’s contact with his girlfriend avoided further bloodshed. But a statement of probable cause says Griego spent time at the church, first talking to his girlfriend and her grandmother and then meeting with the church pastor and a security guard.
Church officials called authorities, and Griego initially told arriving officers he had come home Saturday morning after spending time at a friend’s house to discover his family dead.
The teen later confessed to shooting his mother because he “had anger issues” and was annoyed with her, the charging document said.