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US Archbishop calls for unity after shootings

03 January 2020

PA

A police car is parked outside the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, on Monday, where two people were shot dead during the Sunday morning service

A police car is parked outside the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth, on Monday, where two people were shot de...

THE Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Antonio, the Rt Revd Gustavo Garcia-Siller, has spoken after two people were killed in a shooting at a church in Texas. “That this act of violence occurred in a house of worship unfortunately no longer shocks our senses,” he said. “At this time of bitter division and polarisation, we must unite in common purpose and commitment to save our society.”

The shooting happened during a service last Sunday morning at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, a suburb of Fort Worth. The morning service was being livestreamed on social media at the time.

The gunman stood up from a pew and opened fire, before being shot himself by a member of the congregation who was acting as a security guard, and was armed with a handgun.

The shootings lasted just six seconds.

The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, said: “Our hearts go out to the victims and families of those killed in the evil act of violence that occurred at the West Freeway Church of Christ. Places of worship are meant to be sacred, and I am grateful for the church members who acted quickly to take down the shooter and help prevent further loss of life.”

Five people were also killed in New York, when they were stabbed as they celebrated Hanukkah at the home of a rabbi, last weekend. One person is in a critical condition in hospital.

REUTERSA vigil is held in New York last Saturday to express solidarity with the victims of the stabbing at a Hasidic rabbi’s home during a celebration of Hanukkah

Both attacks were blamed on the “cancer” of growing hatred and division in the United States.

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said: “This is an intolerant time in our country. We see anger, we see hatred exploding. It is an American cancer on the body politic.”

New York City police department’s hate-crimes unit said that it was investigating eight anti-Semitic incidents reported since 13 December.

The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, has announced extra police patrols outside places of worship in response to what he described as a “crisis” of anti-Semitic attacks. President Trump posted a message on Twitter saying: “We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Grafton Thomas, aged 37, has been arrested and charged with five counts of attempted murder.

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