Man suspected in Kingdom Hall murder-suicide made threats against wife, union rep




  • In US
  • 2022-12-29 04:56:00Z
  • By The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Dec. 28-The man accused of shooting his wife and then himself in a murder-suicide on Christmas Day in Thornton outside a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses previously threatened to shoot his wife and a local union representative last year, court records show.

The threats prompted his former employer, Sturgeon Electric Company, to file for a protection order in December 2021.

The protection order application shows Enoch Apodaca, 46, had a conversation with a representative from "Local 68" and threatened to "come after" the people at Sturgeon responsible for him losing his job. Apodaca's employment with Sturgeon ended in June 2021, according to the records.

The Adams County coroner's office identified Apodaca and his wife as Melissa Martinez, 44.

Thornton police have released little information about the Christmas Day incident, but they say one - or both - threw three pipe bombs through a window of the worship hall at 951 Milky Way before Apodaca fatally shot Martinez and then himself.

Shortly before Sunday's murder-suicide, Apodaca entered the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 68 building with a bucket and there was a "large explosion" shortly after he left, Thornton police said. The building, which police described as Apodaca's "place of business," was closed and no one was hurt. The bucket was similar to one used at the worship hall, police said.

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The couple arrived at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Thornton at around 9 a.m., about a half hour before the first meeting of the day was scheduled. The couple had previously been members but were no longer welcome there, police said.

Apodaca directed his wife to back up a truck to a window before breaking the window with a hammer and putting the explosive devices inside, police said. Apodaca then shot her before shooting himself, they said.

One of the devices appeared to start a fire while two church members were inside the hall, police said. One of them used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. None of the devices detonated but a bomb technician found that one of them nearly did before malfunctioning or being extinguished, police said.

No explosives were found in the couple's home, police said. Instead, investigators found personal belongings that had been apparently set out and marked to be given to specific family members.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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