US teenager planned to randomly shoot people, says County Sheriff

US teenager

A US teenager accused of gunning down five family members over the weekend ambushed his father as he returned home from an overnight shift at a rescue mission, then reloaded his rifles 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 and her family, authorities said. That evening, he went to church where Griego's father had been a pastor, and Griego eventually confessed to killing his parents and three younger siblings.

"The motive, as articulated by the suspect, was purely that he was frustrated with his mother," Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said. "He did not give any further explanation."

Houston said Griego had planned the shootings for at least a week, but it's unclear if he ever actually went to a Wal-Mart or why he changed his mind about continuing the attack, which occurred on the same day thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully at state capitals around the country to rally against stricter limits on firearms. The "Guns Across America" events were being held just after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun-control proposals.

A series of mass shootings especially an elementary school attack in Connecticut last month that left 20 young children and six adults dead have fired up the debate over gun control in the U.S. While many Americans support stricter gun legislation, many others are fiercely opposed, considering it an assault on the Second Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms. Obama's proposals include a ban on assault weapons of the sort used both in the New Mexico and Connecticut shootings, but the idea is expected to face stiff support from congressional Republicans, who control the House of Representatives. Griego told detectives he also contemplated killing his girlfriend's parents, Houston said.

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