Priest who survived fatal shooting feels 'no ill will' towards killer

Published 14 June 2014  |  
(Photo: JCEBlogspot)

A priest recovering from injuries he sustained in a shooting that left his young colleague dead has reportedly said "no evil" about the person who carried out the attack. 

Fr Joseph Terra, 56, and Fr Kenneth Walker, 28 were attacked during an attempted robery in the Mother of Mercy Mission Catholic Church in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Fr Walker died in hospital as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in the attack on Wednesday night.  

The Journal News reports that Fr Terra was able to issue last rites for Fr Walker before his passing, despite having suffered considerable injuries himself. 

So far, no suspects have been identified in connection with the attack which has shocked the community. 

Locals gathered together outside the church on Thursday night to pray together. 

Parishioner Bill Haley visited Fr Terra in hospital and said that although he was in critical condition he was able to talk. 

"He said nothing evil about the person who did this, expressed no ill will," he told The Journal News.

"I'm concerned about the corss he's going to have to carry now as a survivor of this ... he asked everyone to pray for him."

Haley went on to describe Fr Walker as a young priest who was "full of energy" and made it a habit to learn the names of each new parishioner. 

"He'll just be sorely missed," he said.  

Fr Walker's stepsister, Sasha Keys, said at a vigil in St John Vianney Chapel on Thursday night: "If he was actually doing a good job as a priest there are people out there that don't want the priests to succeed and bring people to the church.  I don't know, it's hard to say what kind of motive would be there."

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has appealed for help in catching the people responsible. 

He said the attack was a "tragedy" that "strikes at our core because every American should feel safe in a house of worship".

Fr Terra's condition is reported to be critical but stable.

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