NEW YORK – After three people were killed and another critically injured in a shooting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Dec. 6, Archbishop George Leo Thomas of Las Vegas has said his “thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and survivors of this tragedy.”
Reports of shots fired at about 11:45 a.m. local time prompted the university to go into lockdown as local police rushed to the campus. The suspect, who has not been identified, was ultimately killed in a shootout with detectives at a building housing the university’s business school.
The names of the victims have not yet been released, either.
“May the embrace of the Lord compassionately hold and console those who are suffering,” Thomas said in a Dec. 6 statement. “May his comforting presence bring solace and strength to their hearts, granting them the grace to face their challenges with hope and resilience.”
About 30,000 students attend UNLV.
The university’s campus is less than two miles east of the Las Vegas Strip, and just over three miles from the location where a gunman killed 60 people and wounded hundreds more who were attending a music festival back in October, 2017 in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
The shooting was the 630th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2023, according to the gun violence archive, which defines a mass shooting as a shooting where a minimum of four victims are injured or killed. The figure is less than the 2022 and 2021, when the archive recorded 645 and 690 mass shootings, respectively.
According to the same source, more than 40,000 people have died from gun violence so far in 2023, including roughly 22,500 suicides and 17,600 homicides.
The shooting at UNLV comes a day after a man in Texas, 34-year-old Shane James, was charged with two counts of capital murder after he killed his parents and four others in separate attacks in Austin and San Antonio. In the spree, James also shot and wounded a cyclist, and two police officers.
Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin said Dec. 6 that he is “horrified” by what happened.
“Let us join in prayer asking God for healing and hope during this dark time,” Vásquez said in a statement. “We must always uphold the sanctity of every human life and promote a culture of peace where the inherent dignity of every person is respected and protected.”
A separate database tracking gun violence maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University recorded the tragedy as the 42nd mass killing of 2023, which resulted in 217 deaths. The database defines mass killings as incidents in which four or more people have died within a 24-hour period, not including the killer. The FBI uses the same definition.
President Joe Biden said on Dec. 6 that he and First Lady Jill Biden are praying for the victims and their families of the shootings in both Texas and Las Vegas. On a policy level, the president said the “epidemic” of gun violence in the U.S. “demands” that the federal government take action.
He specifically called on Republicans to join Democrats in passing various gun control legislation.
“Together, we must do more to prevent more families, and more communities like Austin, San Antonio, and Las Vegas, from being ripped apart by gun violence,” Biden said in a statement.
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