Crime and Safety

Enoch Apodaka, who attacked Jehovah’s Witnesses in Thornton, threatened his wife and made bombs

The Colorado man who staged a brutal Christmas attack at a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, killing himself and his wife, was known to authorities for his bomb-making skills.

Before the attack on the Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Thornton, 46-year-old Enoch Apodaka set off a “big bomb” at a local union building in North Washington.

Investigators say Apodaka walked into local union IBEW 68 around 8:45 a.m. with “what looked like a bucket,” according to The Denver Post.

He then exited the building and got into his car before a “major explosion” occurred in the office building, police said.

Prior to both of these incidents on Sunday morning, Apodaka was known to local authorities as a violent man with a knack for making bombs, according to court documents obtained by the newspaper.

By 9 am, Apodaka was at the Kingdom Hall with his wife, Melissa Martinez, 44, whom he instructed to drive a pickup truck to the building window.

Jehovah's witness
Enoch Apodaka and Melissa Martinez were the only ones killed in the attack.

He smashed a window with a hammer and placed three pipe bombs inside, then shot his wife in the back of the head with a shotgun. He then shot himself with the same pistol, police said.

The bombs inside the conference room never exploded, although firefighters put out a small fire that had started near one of the devices.

Apodaka and Martinez, believed to be disgruntled former members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation, were the only ones killed in the incident. The couple had apparently been kicked out of the congregation years earlier due to similar bomb threats.

When police went to the couple’s home after the incident, they found the couple had left items “clearly marked for distribution to specific family members.” The police also found materials to make the bomb, but no additional explosive devices were found.

Jehovah's witness
Earlier Sunday, Apodaka blew up the office of a local union before attacking a meeting hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

According to court records, Apodaka had previously threatened the parishioners. He also threatened to shoot his wife and a local Union 68 representative after he was fired from his job as an electrician in 2021.

The pair were identified Wednesday by the Adams and Broomfield Counties coroners. The couple had an autopsy performed and the cause of their deaths is currently under investigation, the coroner’s office said in a press release.

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