Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

A report of Church Times today informs that Pope Francis has expressed his “deep sadness” and “spiritual closeness” to the victims of the deadliest gun attack in recent United States history.

According to the report, at least 58 people died and more than 500 were injured after a gunman opened fire on crowds at a country music festival, “Route 91 Harvest”, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday night.

It was covered that witnesses reported seeing automatic rounds being fired from the 32nd floor of a hotel room across the Boulevard into the 20,000 people who were attending the final night of the three-day, sell-out event. The country musician Jason Aldean was performing at the time of the shooting.

In a telegram sent to the RC Bishop of Las Vegas, the Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe, on behalf of the Pope, the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin writes: “Deeply saddened to learn of the shooting in Las Vegas, Pope Francis sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this senseless tragedy.

“He commends the efforts of the police and emergency service personnel, and offers the promise of his prayers for the injured and for all who have died, entrusting them to the merciful love of Almighty God.”

More than 400 people had been transported to hospitals by Monday morning, Clark County officials estimated. Two off-duty police officers were confirmed as being among the dead. The death toll has surpassed that of the fatal shooting of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June last year (News, 17 June 2016).

The suspect named by police as Stephen Paddock, 64, a white male from Mesquite, Nevada, shot and killed himself in the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, after a SWAT team used a controlled explosion to enter his room. He had no criminal record.

Police reported finding at least ten weapons, including several rifles, in a search of the room. A woman, Marilou Danley, 62, believed to have been associated with the suspect, was named as a person of interest. She fled the scene but has since been located.

The motive of the attack remains unclear. The county sheriff, Joe Lombardo, said on Monday: “We have to establish what his motivation is first. There are motivating factors associated with terrorism other than a distraught person just intending to cause mass casualty. Before we label with that it will be a matter of process.”

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office have contacted authorities in Las Vegas to establish whether any British people were affected, the foreign secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement. “The UK stands with the American people against this indiscriminate violence. My thoughts are with all those caught up in it.”

President Trump tweeted: “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” He later said in a television statement that the attack was “an act of pure evil” and that he was praying for the victims and their families.

The US civil rights campaigner and Baptist Minister, the Revd Al Sharpton, wrote: “Pray for the victims and families in Las Vegas. Whoever and whatever the cause, the results are horrific and barbaric. God help us!”














Reporter: Ridwan A Olayiwola


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