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By Alan Prendergast
Amid all the revelations connected with Ted Haggard's attempted resurrection on HBO and Oprah, the accusations of payoffs involving yet another young man lusted after by the former pastor ("Watch the KRDO report featuring Ted Haggard's latest accuser"), and assorted other sordidness, a greater bit of deception and denial at New Life Church has been largely overooked -- the conflicting stories about killer Matthew Murray's 2007 attack on the church and its aftermath.
So kudos to KHOW's Peter Boyles and his producer, Greg Hollenback, for landing a two-hour interview with Larry Bourbonnais on January 28, shortly before the Haggard documentary and Oprah appearance. A Vietnam vet and former New Life member, Bourbonnais was wounded in Murray's shooting spree and was initially (and correctly, it seems) hailed as a hero in the incident for trying to distract the shooter. A few days later he was forcibly removed from church property and served with a restraining order because he was supposedly "volatile."
Bourbonnais has turned down multiple interview requests from the likes of Larry King -- but he was finally persuaded to tell his story, evidently out of mounting disgust with Haggard and his successor, Brady Boyd. It's a story about a security officer who froze during the shooting, cops who didn't investigate the scene properly and church spinmeisters who concocted a palatable version of staff heroism during the tragedy -- at the expense of one Larry Bourbonnais. Find the podcast here; it's accessible on the left side of the screen, in the red shaded area.
Yes, I was a guest on Boyles's show, too, largely because of some blogs of mine questioning what New Life officials knew about Murray before the attack ("Matthew Murray, Ted Haggard and Double Lives"). But the story Bourbonnais has to tell is compelling on its own terms, and suggests, as does the alleged payoff to Haggard's accuser, that New Life is a lot more interested in its image than the truth behind the tragedies it's endured.