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Pope prays for victims of Plymouth, England, mass shooting

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 08/19/21

A mentally ill man killed 5 people, including a 3-year-old, before shooting himself.

Pope Francis sent an assurance of his prayers to the bishop of Plymouth, England, where a rare mass shooting occurred August 12, resulting in the death of five victims and the shooter. One of the victims was a 3-year-old girl, who was shot along with her father.

The papal telegram to Bishop Mark O’Toole accompanied a prayer service the bishop led at the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Boniface in Plymouth.

In his message, Pope Francis expressed his sadness over the shootings and assured those gathered for the Vigil of his spiritual closeness.

The Pope said he joins them “in commending the souls of those who died to Almighty God’s loving mercy and he implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved.”

Before imparting his apostolic blessing, he prayed that Christ the Redeemer may grant to all “the strength to renounce violence and to overcome every evil with good.”

Thursday’s violence marked the UK’s first mass shooting in 11 years, where gun homicide rates are among the lowest in the world.

The perpetrator, 22-year-old Jake Davison, first killed his 51-year-old mother. He next shot the girl and her 43-year-old father in the street. He shot and injured two people in a house, and then killed a 59-year-old man at a park and fatally wounded a 66-year-old woman at a plaza. He then shot himself.

Davison had long struggled with mental illnesses.

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