(CRUX) — A mass shooting in West Texas shows a “contempt for human life,” according to the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.
Seven people were reported killed on Aug. 31 when Texas state troopers stopped a vehicle for failing to use a turn signal in the Permian Basin region of the state, and the driver opened fire and fled.
He began shooting randomly at people in an area between Midland and Odessa, hitting more than 20. He was killed by police outside of a movie theater in Odessa.
It is the second mass shooting in just four weeks in the state, with a gunman killing 22 people in a racist attack at a Walmart in El Paso.
“Once again, these horrific onslaughts demonstrate unequivocally the undeniable existence of evil in our society. I am deeply saddened to witness yet again scenes of violence and contempt for human life being repeated in our nation’s streets,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“With renewed resolve, I call on all people of good will, starting with our Catholic leaders and faithful, to work tirelessly to root out the causes of such crimes. As people of faith, we must continue to pray for all the victims, and for healing in all these shattered communities that now extend across the length and breadth of our land,” the Cardinal DiNardo said.
Bishop Michael Sis of the Diocese of San Angelo, which includes Midland and Odessa, said he received the news of the shootings “with a heart full of sorrow.”
“My prayers are for those who have lost their lives, who have been seriously injured, and for their families. My prayers are also for the great people of those communities directly impacted by this senseless act of violence, especially the courageous first responders and the local medical teams,” he said in a statement.
“There are no easy answers as to how to end this epidemic of gun violence in our state and our country. I ask the Lord to enlighten all of our hearts and minds, especially our government leaders, so that we can have the insight and the courage to move from a culture of death to a culture of life,” Bishop Sis said.
The West Texas shooting Saturday brings the number of mass killings in the U.S. so far this year to 25, matching the number in all of 2018, according to The AP/USATODAY/Northeastern University mass murder database.