NEW YORK – Pope Francis has offered his prayers and support to all those who were affected by the recent mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, where 11 people were killed.

“Assuring those affected by this tragedy of his spiritual closeness, His Holiness joins the entire community 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,” Francis wrote in a Jan. 25 telegram to Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles.

“As a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord, the Holy Father sends his blessing,” reads the telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The 11 people – five men and six women – were killed on Jan. 21 at a Lunar New Year celebration at the Star Ballroom Studio. 10 of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The 11th victim succumbed to her injuries nearly two days later. The victims were people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Authorities found the suspected gunman dead on Jan. 22 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the van he used to flee a second attack attempt at a different location that was thwarted by patrons inside. The man was identified as 72-year-old Huu Can Tran. A motive remains unknown.

In response to Francis’ message, Gomez said in a statement that he is “grateful and touched by this beautiful expression of our Holy Father’s pastoral concern.”

“United with our Holy Father and our Blessed Mother, let us continue to pray for those who have died. May God wrap them in his merciful love,” Gomez said. “Let us continue to pray also for those who were wounded, may God grant them healing. And may God give comfort and consolation to all who are grieving.”

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