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Phoenix church attack: Robbery turns deadly, priest shot and killed in rectory

A Phoenix church attack resulted in one priest being shot and killed in the rectory of Mother of Mercy Mission this week. Another priest was also found shot and seriously wounded in what police believe may have been a robbery that suddenly turned violent and deadly. The CS Monitor reports this Thursday, June 12, 2014, that the incident occurred at a Catholic Church on Wednesday night, though the exact number of assailants remains unclear at this time.

A church attack in Pheonix turns deadly, priest killed
Wikimedia Commons

When police received an emergency call about a burglary this Wednesday night at Mother of Mercy Mission in the downtown Arizona city, they never expected to find the aftermath of a Phoenix church attack with one priest dead and another critically injured. A local police sergeant said that law enforcement authorities got word of a 911 call not long after 9 p.m.; by the time they arrived at the scene of the crime, they found the two Catholic priests shot.

Sadly, according to an updated report from CNN, one of the injured priest’s gunshot wound was too severe — he died shortly after admittance to a Phoenix hospital. The other victim in this deadly church attack remains in serious condition, though the extent of his injuries has not been verified. It seems that the 56-year-old priest who survived the robbery managed to reach a nearby phone and dial 911, which likely saved his life.

Police officials have confirmed that the shooting took place in the Mother of Mercy Mission’s small rectory. A number of investigators in the case have not yet confirmed whether anything was taken in the robbery, or even whether theft was even a primary motive in the Phoenix church attack. Other missing details so far in their case is just how many assailants may have participated in the break-in and violent crime.

A recent news conference on the tragic occurrence has yielded the names of the two victims — Roman Catholic priests Rev. Kenneth Walker (who was killed) and Rev. Joseph Terra (who was critically injured). Walker was only 29 years old and served as assistant pastor to Terra, who was the active pastor of the church. Officials request that the Christian community and the public at large please keep both victims in their thoughts and prayers, particularly “the health and complete recovery” of the surviving priest.

"When you're talking about individuals who are coming into a location like this to a church facility, commit a crime like this against individuals who are victims like this one can only imagine what they were likely to do," one police authority noted.

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