“God, The Gunman & Me” is written by Jeanne Assam about her experience in a Colorado church shooting. In 2007, a lone gunman entered the New Life Church and started killing people. Jeanne Assam was the one person in the church that ran toward the gunfire, stopping the gunman from killing more people. This is her story, told by her, from her point of view.
Jeanne is a former police officer and did some investigative work after the incident to learn more about the gunman and how their lives intersected. Her research after the incident is one of the first well-written stories about the gunman’s life prior to the attack. The book is worth reading for that reason, but the book also has more great info about church security and the shooting itself.
The account of the shooting is a great case study about how shooters act once things start and how confusing the situation gets. The reports of where the gunman was during the shooting were extremely confusing. A couple of quick things to learn from her account of the shooting:
- The gunman continued to fight even after he hit the ground.
- She had to shoot him with three volleys of fire.
- Even after he couldn’t hold his rifle, he was trying to pull a pin on a grenade to continue killing people.
After the shooting, things were worse for her than during the shooting. She was attacked personally by the media for past deeds. She had been fired from two different police departments under weird circumstances. Instead of talking about her as a hero, they started talking about what a bad person she was because of what happened in the past. Then, when the Medical Examiner couldn’t determine which bullet wounds where fatal, and there was a wound from his own rifle, he determined that the gunman probably killed himself. After that, the media lost all talk of how she was a hero and only said she confronted the gunman and the gunman killed himself. The attacks got worse, and the media didn’t even ask her side of the story about the past before airing and printing it all.
She had to fight demands for years over the attack and the media made it worse. If the media will attack an obvious hero for their past deeds, what will the media do if there is any question about who the bad guy was or what happened?
Out of the book I picked out some possible pre-attack indicators. I list them here for your reference:
- He wanted to act out violence in video games, but his parents refused to let him
- He hid many things from his family, guns he owned, had things shipped to a PO Box, and kept his important things in the trunk of his car so his parents wouldn’t find them
- He was rejected from many things that he really loved; people, work, church organizations
- Had a lack of friends
- Couldn’t make friends his own age
- He suddenly had many friends his parents never met
- Still lived with parents after school and many jobs
- He couldn’t keep a job and it was always someone else’s fault that he lost all his jobs, and his parents agreed
- Nothing else to do, so he took unemployment and went back to school
- Depression and lived on the computer
- No sleep schedule
- Numerous books on the occult and satan
- He had some learning disabilities in communication and writing.
- Had trouble in school and other things he enjoyed because of it
- Had ADHD and was medicated for it
- He hated his meds because they stopped him from doing a trip abroad with the YWAM
- Home schooled after the first grade
- Extremely bright
- He was never able to forgive anyone for anything, including himself
By no means an all encompassing list and just because someone does things on the list doesn’t mean they are going to kill a lot of people. These were just the things given in the book that made the gunman go on a killing spree.
There are a lot of other good tips and insights about the gunfight and the killer in this book that make it worth reading. Along with that, there is Jeanne’s story of redemption from her own horrible childhood and early adulthood.
This is a short book and worth the read. You can get it here on Amazon.
One closing thought from the book; “This was truly good versus evil: Satan versus God. And clearly, God won. I was just the instrument He chose to fight the enemy. It was a man who died that day in the hallway of my church, but it was no man who walked into that church, firing his weapon, killing innocent people, that was a demon.” – Jeanne Assam