Priest killed, another one injured in attack at Catholic church in Phoenix

Photo from KPHO
Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 9:00am

A priest was killed and another critically wounded in an attack at a Catholic church in Phoenix, police said early Thursday.

The Rev. Kenneth Walker was fatally shot, and the Rev. Joseph Terra is hospitalized in critical condition, police and church officials said. It was not clear what type of weapon was used to attack Terra, Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department said.

A 911 call came in about 9 p.m. Wednesday (12 a.m. ET Thursday) from the Mater Misericordiae, or Mother of Mercy, Mission Catholic Church, Martos said.

The church celebrates Mass in the traditional Latin.

The emergency call to police was for a burglary and was made by one of the victims, Martos said.

When police arrived, they found the two priests badly injured. Walker died at the hospital.

Terra, the injured priest, was only able to minimally speak with authorities about what happened, Martos said. The priority is for him to be treated.

"Hopefully, once that individual receives treatment and is able to pull through, we can gather more information," Martos said.

A green 2003 Mazda Tribute was stolen from church property, police said, and it was found abandoned.

"The police are still gathering information and trying to sort through the details of this senseless act of violence," the Diocese of Phoenix said in a statement. "We ask that people offer prayers for both priests, the religious community, their families and the parish."

CNN's Tina Burnside contributed to this report. CNN first learned of the shooting via Twitter.


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