THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) — A man involved in a murder-suicide at a Jehovah’s Witness worship hall on Christmas Day set off a “large explosion” at his place of business shortly before the deadly incident, according to the Thornton Police Department.
Enoch Apodaca entered a building in the 5600 block of Logan Street with what appeared to be a bucket around 8:45 a.m. on Dec. 25, police said.
Shortly after he exited the building and got back to his vehicle, an explosion was observed. No one was injured and the business was closed, TPD said.
Enoch arrives at Kingdom Hall
Enoch and his wife Melissa arrived at Kingdom Hall in the 950 block of Milky Way shortly before 9 a.m.
Enoch was seen directing Melissa to back a truck up to the building. Enoch then broke a window with a hammer and placed three explosive devices into the building, TPD said.
Police said he then shot Melissa from behind and shot himself.
None of the explosive devices placed in the worship hall detonated.
At the time, there were two members at the hall, and one member used a fire extinguisher to put out a fire that appeared to originate near one of the devices, TPD said.
No other injuries were reported.
Search at the Apodaca home
Police searched Enoch and Melissa’s home and found several items consistent with the manufacturing of explosives similar to those found at Kingdom Hall, according to TPD. No other explosive devices were found at the home.
TPD said it also appeared that personal belongings had been set out and marked for distribution to specific family members.
Investigators found that Enoch and Melissa had been members of Kingdom Hall previously but were no longer welcome.
Enoch reached out to a member the night before the incident and expressed an interest in returning to the congregation. He was told to speak to Kingdom Hall elders, according to TPD.
The Associated Press said the Denver Post reported a protection order was filed claiming Enoch had threatened to kill Melissa and shoot a union representative after losing his job as an electrician in 2021.
According to the AP, the Post reported that Enoch told the union representative after killing him and Melissa that he would “come after the people responsible” for him and his wife losing their jobs.