Matthew Murray, 24, evidently was acting on a grudge based upon being expelled “for health reasons” three years ago from a 12-week missionary training program conducted by Youth With a Mission (YWAM), a non-denominational evangelical organization founded in 1960. Murray had been sending hate mail to officials of WYAM for some time.
On Sunday night, Murray appeared and demanded a room at the dormitory for missionary trainees at the program center he had previously attended at Arvada, Colorado. When Tiffany Johnson, 26, told him he could not stay there, and tried suggesting alternatives, he produced a pistol and opened fired, killing Johnson and Phillip Crouse, 24, and wounding two other staff members.
The following morning, Murray arrived at the Colorado Springs New Life Church wearing a trench coat and carrying two handguns, the kind of semi-uto the press usually refers to as an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. He set off smoke cannisters at several entrances to the church complex, and launched his attack. Murray began firing at vehicles in the church parking lot, killing two teenage girls Stephanie and Rachel Works, 18 and 16, and wounding their father David Works, 51. He then entered the church vestibule, and wounded Larry Bourbonnais, a 59-year-old Vietnam veteran.
At that point, 42-year-old Jeanne Assam, a former Minneapolis police officer, one of a dozen volunteer security guards at the church complex licensed to carry a concealed firearm, had been attending the just concluded service and intervened. She drew her own pistol, and advanced upon Murray, demanding that he surrender. Murray shot at her three times with his own handgun, but Assam then walked directly toward him, squeezing off round after round. Murray fell.
Brady Boyd, the church’s pastor, observed that Jeanne Assam’s actions saved the lives of 50 to 100 people.
Jeanne Assam interview 12:30 video