Church members mourn slain former pastor

Posted at: 01/20/2013 8:15 PM
Updated at: 01/20/2013 10:27 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A local Christian faith community is remembering one of the victims for the impact he has made on the lives of others.

Friends told KOB Eyewitness News 4 one of the victims was Greg Griego.

He and his family are well-known for their involvement in the Calvary Albuquerque church on Osuna.

Those who attend the church were devastated Sunday to hear Griego and his family won't be coming back.

"It's very emotional for me, I just can't believe it," Elisha Baca, a massage therapist at Calvary, said. "He was a strong, big guy - looks like a bouncer, but just like a gentle, quiet loving - just an awesome man."

Baca was among those who left service Sunday in disbelief, after hearing Griego, his wife and three children were killed Saturday night inside their South Valley home.

"Oh, this is heart breaking - this is so sad," Geraldine Hernandez, who attends Calvary, said.

Griego took a leave of absence as a pastor in 2012 for reasons that are not being discussed, Calvary's Executive Director Brian Nixon said.

He still attended church every week with his family and also remained extremely involved at Calvary and throughout the community, with the jail ministry and chaplain programs.

"Greg truly had a great impact with the jail ministry, where he really shined was in that particular area," Nixon said. "He was loved by people in that area of ministry and cherished by so many people, he truly touched many many lives."

He volunteered his time at the Metropolitan Detention Center since 2006.

"It's a big loss for the jail, because he was a strong foundation for a lot of inmates so losing him is a big loss for us, there are going to be a lot of inmates that are deeply saddened by his loss," MDC spokeswoman Nataura Powdrell said.

The Albuquerque Fire Department is also mourning Griego's loss. He was a spiritual counselor for the firefighters. Fire Chief James Breen sent out a statement Sunday afternoon saying, "his calming spirit and gentle nature will be greatly missed."

"You could approach pastor Greg at the drop of a hat, anything, he was there to help," Hernandez said. "I have great sympathy for his family and I ask for the lord to strengthen and encourage and bless them."