Diocesan News

Prayers for Navy Yard Shooting Victims

WASHINGTON (CNS) – As military, police and federal investigators searched for answers as to why a lone gunman opened fire Sept. 16 at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 people and wounding at least eight more, religious leaders and public officials offered prayers for the victims and their families.

Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl and Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who heads the Washington-based Archdiocese for the Military Services, both issued brief statements offering prayers for the victims and their families.

The shooter was identified as Aaron Alexis, 34 and a native of Queens, who became the 13th victim when he died in a gun battle with police at the naval office building in the nation’s capital. At first, law enforcement authorities thought there was a second shooter but by the end of the day confirmed Alexis was the only gunman.

According to news reports, Alexis was a former Navy reservist who received a “general discharge” from the service and had moved to the Washington area from Texas about a year ago. He worked for a military contractor and had security clearance at the Navy Yard.

Archbishop Broglio said the “terrible loss of life” shocked and saddened him, particularly as it occurred at a familiar place where he has often visited and celebrated the Eucharist.

“Somehow we must restore the notion of respect for life into the fabric of the nation,” he said in a statement. “When the uniqueness of the human person created in the image and likeness of God is universally recognized, the possibility of a mass shooting is more remote.”

The Sept. 16 attack unfolded shortly before 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time) in one of several large buildings at the Navy Yard.

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