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NEW YORK – Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond is calling on the diocese’s faith community to pray for all who’ve been affected by a mass shooting at a Chesapeake, Va., Walmart late on Nov. 22.
Six people, all Walmart employees, were killed by a store manager after he opened fire on a group gathered in the break room. The gunman apparently killed himself, and was dead when police found him, according to Chesapeake Police Chief Mark Solesky.
“As families and friends prepare to gather around the table for Thanksgiving, a time where we celebrate what we are most grateful for in our lives, our diocese awakens to the somber and agonizing news of more souls lost because of a senseless act of violence,” Knestout said in a statement.
“This is the second time within two weeks we grieve for multiple lives tragically taken far too early by violence,” he continued. “I once again ask our faith community to hold in prayer all who are directly affected by these actions.”
In a statement, Chesapeake Mayor Rick West said he is “devastated by the senseless act of violence that took place last night in our city.”
“My prayers are with all those affected – the victims, their family, their friends, and their coworkers,” West said. “I am grateful for the quick actions taken by our first responders who rushed to the scene.”
Chesapeake is a tightknit community and we are all shaken by this news,” he added. Together, we will support each other throughout this time. Please keep us in your prayers.”
The attack was the second mass shooting in the U.S. in two weeks. Five people were killed and at least 18 people were injured when a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19.
A database run by The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University shows that this year’s 40 mass killings are the second most in a calendar year since 2006, when the database was launched. 2019 had the most incidents in a calendar year with 45.
Knestout, citing the recent mass shootings in his diocese and Colorado Springs, said he continues to pray “for those who are hurting today and in the weeks and months to come, as a result of these acts.”
Follow John Lavenburg on Twitter: @johnlavenburg