Religious leaders and public officials have offered prayers for the victims and their families of the Washington navy yard shooting on Monday, which left 12 people dead and at least eight more wounded, reports the Catholic News Service.
Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Archbishop Timothy 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, 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 recognised, the possibility of a mass shooting is more remote."
Church leaders in Washington offer prayers (Catholic Herald)