In a fatal Phoenix church shooting on Thursday, a priest was killed and another priest critically wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Catholic church.
The dead priest was identified as the Rev. Kenneth Walker; the injured priest is the Rev. Joseph Terra.
Sgt. Steve Martos from the Phoenix Police Department, said that a 911 call was made at around 9 p.m. from the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission Catholic Church in Phoenix.
As it turned out, the emergency call was make by Terra who reported that a burglary was underway at the church. At present, it isn’t clear if he sustained his injuries before or after making the call.
Sgt. Martos told reporters: “Hopefully, once that individual receives treatment and is able to pull through, we can gather more information.”
According to the Church website, more than one armed robber broke into the property. However, police have neither confirmed nor denied that allegation.
In the robbery, a green 2013 Mazda Tribute belonging to the Church was stolen and later found abandoned.
The Diocese of Phoenix said in an official statement: “Police are still gathering information and trying to sort through the details of this senseless act of violence. We ask that people offer prayers for both priests, the religious community, their families and the parish.”
Rev. Walker, who was 29 years old, was a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter; Rev. Terra is also a member of that same Fraternity.
Rorate Caeli, a Catholic blog, described the area where the church is located, in downtown Phoenix as, “deserted and dangerous at night” but asked followers to avoid speculation about a motive for the crime.
The circumstances which led to the brutal murder of one priest, and left another in hospital fighting for his life, have yet to be ascertained.