10 December 2007

Who Killed the Missionaries?

Two Christian missionaries in training were killed and two more were injured this weekend, in Arvada. Two sisters were killed and their father and two other church members were injured seventy miles away the same day at a megachurch in Colorado Springs, before a church security guard killed the man. The man who did it was twenty four year old Matthew Murray.

The headline screamed that he "hated Christians" based upon an anoymous statement from a law enforcement official. But, if true, this was no typical hate crime by an ignorant outsider. Certainly, he grew up seeped in a particular kind of Christianity:

Matthew Murray lived [at his parents' home in Englewood] along with a brother, Christopher, 21, a student at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma

A neighbor, Cody Askeland, 19, said the brothers were home-schooled, describing the whole family as "very, very religious."

Christopher studied for a semester at Colorado Christian University before transferring to Oral Roberts, said Ronald Rex, dean of admissions and marketing at Colorado Christian. He said Matthew Murray had been in contact with school officials this summer about attending the school but decided he wasn't interested because he thought the school was too expensive.

The Denver Post adds:

In court papers filed Monday, police said the gunman had been thrown out of the missionary school about three years ago and had been sending hate mail to the program. . . . In 1990, Murray was registered as a home-schooled child with the Cherry Creek School District, said district spokeswoman Tustin Amole. He later took the Iowa test, a standard test given to third-graders nationwide at the time, said Amole. That is the last record that the district has on him.

Murray's later school history indicates a young man adrift. He attended Arapahoe Community College for a while, then quit. Last year he enrolled for a class at Colorado Christian University but dropped out immediately after enrolling.

The missionary program had an office at New Life Church, which is a possible connection between the two shootings.

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