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CNA Staff, Sep 24, 2020 / 04:07 pm (CNA).-  

The Archbishop of Louisville said Thursday he is praying for two police officers who were shot Wednesday night, and he urged peace and non-violence in a city that has seen escalating protests after a grand jury decision in the case of Breonna Taylor.

“My prayers are with the two LMPD officers – Major Aubrey Gregory and Officer Robinson Desroches  – who were shot last evening.  I am glad to hear that Chief Schroeder indicated that both will recover.  As I pray for these two men and their families, I thank all first responders who are working so hard to keep our community safe,” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz told CNA by email Thursday.

“As our community deals with the challenges of the sin of racism and affirms the first amendment rights of those who protest, I again join with people of faith and good will to plead for peace and the rejection of violence,” Kurtz added.

Gregory and Desroches were shot Wednesday night as they and other police officers responded to protests that escalated, in some places, into violence in Louisville. Police arrested 127 people in incidents related to the protests, and police were fired upon while responding to a “shots fired” call Wednesday evening.

The officers did not suffer life-threatening wounds and are expected to recover.

Larynzo Johnson, 26, was charged with shooting the officers and with several other counts of wanton endangerment against police officers.

Protests began in Louisville Sept. 23 shortly after the announcement of a grand jury’s decision to indict only one of the police officers involved in Taylor’s death.

Taylor, 26, was killed March 13 in Louisville during a police raid of her apartment. Taylor, a Black woman, was shot five times by the police after her boyfriend initially fired at the officers who breached Taylor’s apartment’s door to execute a warrant. The officers involved were white. An issue of contention is whether, and how loudly, the officers announced themselves when entering the apartment. 

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, acknowledged firing the first shots, and claimed that he thought the police were intruders. Walker has said he did not hear officers announce themselves as police.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted one of the officers who served the warrant, Brett Hankison, with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing three shots into and near Taylor’s apartment. Hankinson was fired from the Louisville Police in June. The other two officers were not indicted. None of the shots fired by Hankinson were those which struck Taylor.

“I again join with citizens throughout our community and the nation in mourning the tragic death of Breonna Taylor,” Kurtz said Wednesday, as he urged peace in the city.

The Church, said Kurtz, “stands ready to work with civic, community, educational, business, and non-profit partners to address these issues.”

On Thursday, Kurtz quoted Pope Francis as he again called for peace in the city.

“I am reminded of a statement that Pope Francis shared in his weekly audience in early June: ‘My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence, and so much is lost…let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn.’”

 

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