Archbishop Shelton Fabre to say Mass for Louisville shooting victims

April 12, 2023 | Black Catholic Messenger

The liturgy will take place at noon ET in the Cathedral of the Assumption on Thursday.

By NATE TINNER-WILLIAMS | Black Catholic Messenger

Archbishop Shelton Fabre of Louisville will say a Mass for the victims of the deadly shooting in his city earlier this week, the archdiocese has announced.

The liturgy will take place on Thursday, April 13 at the Cathedral of the Assumption, just one mile from the bank where 25-year-old Connor Sturgeon opened fire on his former coworkers, killing five and injuring eight before he was fatally wounded by police.

Two police officers were among those killed in the shooting, which was the 173rd of the year in the United States. Also among the victims was 40-year-old Joshua Barrick, an active member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

“Even in this season of Easter, joy and hope, sadness and darkness find their way into our lives,” the parish said in an announcement for a vigil held at the church on Monday night.

“Our hearts are heavy, they are broken, and we are searching for answers.”

The mass shooting was reportedly the first this year in Kentucky, a state with some of the laxest gun laws in the country. Under current legislation, permits are not required to carry handguns in public, and state lawmakers recently began discussion of two bills that would expand the right to carry concealed weapons to anyone age 18 or older.

Fabre, as chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, has been an outspoken proponent for common sense gun control, including the banning of firearms like the one used by Sturgeon.

“I don’t understand assault weapons,” he said at a conference in 2019.

“The bishops have stood against assault weapons… They don’t have any hunting purpose. They just have one purpose. That is to kill.”

Sturgeon purchased an AR-15 legally in Kentucky six days before the shooting and had reportedly been struggling with mental health issues prior to his lethal attack. According to a 911 dispatcher, Sturgeon texted a friend shortly before the shooting that he was suicidal and was going to “kill everyone at the bank.”

Police have not released an official motive but did announce the names of victims during a press conference on Monday afternoon, where Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg—himself the survivor of an assassination attempt—gave updates.

“If you care about our police officers, it’s time for action,” Greenberg told NBC News on Tuesday after the release of police bodycam footage, which showed 26-year-old officer Nickolas Wilt using a handgun to exchange gunfire with Sturgeon before being shot in the head. Wilt remains in critical condition.

President Joe Biden also offered condolences for the victims via a statement on Monday and called on Senate Republicans to move forward on gun control “to protect our communities”—echoing similar comments he made just two weeks prior, after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Nashville.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, the sole Black Catholic in the 118th U.S. Congress, also responded to the Louisville shooting with a call for immediate reform.

“Americans deserve action. For our kids. For our families. For our communities,” he wrote on social media.

“Ban. Assault. Weapons. Now.”

Archbishop Fabre, who called the shooting part of “the cross of senseless violence,” will say Thursday’s Mass for the shooting victims at 12pm ET. The cathedral’s livestreams can be found on YouTube.

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