After Boulder shooting, archbishop calls for ‘conversion of hearts’

SINGLE USE ONLY. Boulder shooting Flowers at a fence outside the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado where a gunman opened fire on March 23, 2021.  | Chet Strange/Getty Images

Archbishop Samuel Aquila said he is “deeply saddened” by a mass shooting in northern Colorado early this week, and called for conversion of hearts to eradicate violence from society.

“I have been praying for all those impacted by this senseless act of violence and want to express my spiritual closeness to them,” Aquila said in a statement Tuesday.

On Monday, a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people.

One of the victims was police officer Eric Talley, 51, who was among the first to respond to the shooting. Talley, a Catholic, leaves behind a wife and seven children.

Officer Eric Talley / City of Boulder / Twitter

Officer Eric Talley / City of Boulder / Twitter

 Aquila said that Talley “has been described as a man of character and strong faith, a loving father to seven children, a husband who cared deeply for his family, and a soldier for Christ.”

He added that “Officer Talley regularly stopped by St. Martin de Porres [Parish] in Boulder and participated in its events, even though he wasn’t a parishioner there.”

“St. Martin de Porres, the patron of the parish, was someone who experienced tragedy and hardship in his life, and so, we ask for his intercession in these difficult circumstances, that God would bring good out of this great evil,” the archbishop said, promising prayers for Talley’s family.

A funeral for Talley will be celebrated on Monday, March 29 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. It will be a solemn high Mass offered in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, according to an announcement, which added that capacity may be restricted due to COVID-19 regulations.

Police have arrested 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa in connection with Monday’s shooting. He is facing 10 counts of first-degree murder, Boulder Police said. Officials have not discussed a possible motive for the shooting.

The suspect’s family members say they believe him to be suffering from serious mental illness, including paranoia and delusions, according to media reports.

The Boulder shooting comes less than a week after a gunman in Atlanta killed eight people – including six Asian women – during a series of shootings at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on March 16.

In his statement, Aquila said that “incidents like this have become far too common in our country and our state.”

“We must work to promote deeper conversion of hearts so that our lives are characterized by the virtue of charity, which allows us to love God and our neighbor, strengthening the fabric of society and preventing senseless acts of violence such as this one.”

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