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Pope Francis joins prayers for victims of bloody weekend in US

Pope Francis joined Catholic Church leaders expressing sorrow after back-to-back mass shootings in the United States left at least 29 dead and dozens injured in Texas and Ohio this past weekend.

The pope, in St Peter’s Square on 4th August, said he wanted to convey his spiritual closeness to the victims, the wounded and the families affected by the attacks. He also included those who died a weekend earlier during a shooting at a festival in Gilroy, California.

“I am spiritually close to the victims of the episodes of violence that these days have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, affecting defenceless people,” he said.

He joined bishops in Texas as well as national Catholic organisations and leaders reacting to a bloody first weekend of August, which produced the eighth deadliest gun violence attack in the country after a gunman opened fire on the morning of 3rd August at a mall in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 and injuring more than a dozen people.

Less than 24 hours after the El Paso shooting, authorities in Dayton, Ohio, reported at least nine dead and more than a dozen injured after a gunman opened fire on a crowd at or near a bar in the early hours of 4th August. The suspected gunman was fatally wounded and police later identified him as 24-year-old Connor Betts, of Bellbrook, Ohio.

On 4th August, after the second shooting become public, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairman of the bishops’ domestic policy committee offered prayers, condolences and urged action.

Picture: A mourner leaves a candle at the scene of a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on 4th August. Pope Francis joined Catholic Church leaders expressing sorrow after back-to-back mass shootings in the United States left at least 29 dead and dozens injured in Ohio and Texas on 3rd and 4th August. (CNS /Bryan Woolston, Reuters).