Bishop denounces second wave of gun deaths in more than a week in Virginia

Bishop denounces second wave of gun deaths in more than a week in Virginia
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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (CNS) – Just before Thanksgiving Day, “a time when we celebrate what we are most grateful for in our lives,” the nation woke up Nov. 23 “to the somber and distressing news of more souls lost to a senseless act of violence” at a Walmart in Chesapeake, said Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Va.

“This is the second time in two weeks that we have mourned several lives tragically taken far too soon by the violence,” said the bishop, whose diocese includes Chesapeake, the state’s second-largest city after Virginia Beach.

In late November 22, the shooter, who police say was a Walmart official overseeing the night shift, opened fire on co-workers with a pistol in the store’s break room, killing at least six people and injuring at least four others. Later, he committed suicide.

AP reported that the shooter, identified as Andre Bing, 31, and two others were found dead in the rest room, another of the dead was found near the front of the store and three others were taken to the hospital where they died of their injuries.

“I ask our faith community once again to hold in prayer all those who are directly affected by these actions,” Bishop Knestout said. “I continue to pray for those who suffer today and in the weeks and months to come as a result of these acts.”

“I ask everyone to continue to pray for our first responders who have been called upon to handle another heartbreaking scene,” he added.

Police did not immediately know the motive for the Walmart shooting, which followed the nine-day fatal shooting of three college football students at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Just after 11 p.m. on November 13, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry, all members of the college football team, were fatally shot on school grounds. Two other students were injured.

The alleged shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., was arrested the following morning and charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of the three student-athletes.

In a November 14 statement, Bishop Knestout asked for prayers for the victims, their families and the university community.

“Like you, I mourn the loss of life and my heart breaks for the suffering caused by this disturbing act,” the Bishop said in the statement.

He urged all to “reflect on how violence permeates the culture we live in and our efforts to promote peace within our society.”

Read more Armed violence

Copyright © 2022 Catholic News Service/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


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