Twenty people were shot, six fatally. The most critically wounded survivor was Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She was holding a meeting with constituents when she was apparently targeted by the gunman.
The suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was tackled and subdued by people at the scene after firing 31 shots and attempting to reload his Glock 9 mm handgun, Tucson police said.
Among the dead was U.S. District Judge John M. Roll, who had attended Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Church just before stopping by to speak with Giffords, a longtime friend.
“We are a community in grief,” said Bishop Kicanas, a longtime of both Roll and Giffords. “We are a community in tears. We are a community struggling, questioning, wondering how such a tragic event could happen.
“How could God allow such violence to be done to the innocent? How could God permit the pain and suffering felt by so many good people? Has God abandoned us? Has God looked the other way?” he asked.
“Our all-good God never wills evil, never inflicts harm, never injures or hurts,” the bishop said. “Rather our gracious God comforts and consoles us when such tragedies strike. … Our God stands by us, walks with us, holds us in the palm of his hand.”
Listing the first names of the deceased victims, Bishop Kicanas said:
“(God) knows Christina, John, Gabe, Dorwin, Phyllis and Dorothy by name. They are God’s sons and daughters, beloved in God’s eyes. He receives them and welcomes them home.”
Besides the judge and young Christina, the others killed were: Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, who was Giffords’ community outreach director, and three retirees: Phyllis Schneck, 79, Dorwin Stoddard, 76, and Dorothy Morris, 76.
Referring to the injured, the bishop said God “loves and cares for each of them. He wills their full recovery.”
Bishop Kicanas said that God “wills not discord, not division, not destructive words or actions. Rather God desires that we be worthy of being called His sons and daughters by how we act and relate to one another. We are to resist evil, to live with integrity, to speak with civility and respect.”