The family disputed any media characterization that the teen was a loner and said he had many friends and was a wrestler in state tournaments. His father was a champion wrestler and coach.
The family also said they did not want anyone to use the case in the nation's unfolding debate about guns.
"To be clear, our family has differing views on gun rights and gun control. What we do agree on is that those who wish to score political points should not use a confused, misguided, 15-year-old boy to make their case," the family statement said.
"We ask those in the media and those who would use the media to make their political case, to not use Nehemiah as a pawn for ratings or to score political points. He is a troubled young man who made a terrible decision that will haunt him and his family forever."
But authorities painted a far different picture of the teen.
Sheriff: Teen planned shootings for at least a week
Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said Griego was "involved heavily" with violent video games and that he "was quite excited as he got the opportunity to discuss that with our investigators."
He said that the boy planned the shootings for at least a week. That he told investigators he was frustrated with his mother. That he contemplated killing his girlfriend's parents. That he hoped to continue his killing spree at a Walmart "with mass destruction" and die in a shootout with police.
The teen's demeanor, as he shared all this, was "stern, very unemotional," Houston said.
Now, Griego will stand trial as an adult in the weekend killings, prosecutors announced.