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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 11 July, 2020
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Catholic priest, 28, shot dead in Arizona church

Fr Kenneth Walker was shot during an intrusion at the church.

Fr Walker and Fr Terra with a bishop.
Fr Walker and Fr Terra with a bishop.

A LATE NIGHT attack on a Catholic church has left one priest dead and another seriously injured.

An alarm was raised at Mother of Mercy Missions in Phoenix on Tuesday night following an intrusion.

Fr Kenneth Walker, 28, and Fr Joseph Terra, who had been living at the church for the past four years, were both in the church at the time.

Fr Walker received gunshot wounds which were too severe and he died at the scene. Fr Terra made the 911 call and when emergency services arrived, they noted that he had sustained serious injuries, but had not been stabbed or shot.

He was taken to hospital where he remains in a serious condition.

Speaking at a press conference as police searched for a suspect, Fr Fred Adamson from the Diocese of Phoenix paid tribute to the men: ”Fr Terra is a pretty strong man and he’s not afraid of anybody. But if somebody came to ask for something, he would give the shirt of his back. That is the kind of priest he was. A real servant of God.

He also confirmed that Fr Terra was able to absolve Fr Walker and to offer the last rites.

“Obviously, a great deal of comfort and consolation to us, as Catholics, that he was able to extend that in his own suffering,” he concluded.

The local community is in shock at the crime.

“They are fantastic priests, and I can’t believe they were shot,” said parishioner Ted Brudnicki. “For what reason, I can’t understand. It is just amazing that people would do this kind of thing…especially to dedicated people.”

Mayor Greg Stanton said the shooting “strikes at our core because every American should feel safe in a house of worship”.

“And that basic value was violated in an unspeakable way.”

He added that many questions remain but insisted that police were working to catch the shooter.

More: Six-year-old boy knocked down and killed in Kilkenny housing estate

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