Bishop Richard F. Stika of Knoxville has offered prayers for a teenager who was killed and an injured police officer involved in a school shooting.
The bishop also expressed concern in a statement on 12th April, following the incident, for “the series of tragic events” that have resulted in the deaths of four other teens since 27th January who were former or current students at the Knoxville public school as well as concern for mass shootings in several cities nationwide in recent weeks.
Such incidents, he said, “demonstrate that violence in our society remains a serious, almost daily occurrence and that it claims victims in many different ways.”
“As a nation, we must commit ourselves to work to turn away from violence and find real solutions that lead us to love, compassion and decency,” Bishop Stika said in a statement released following the death of an Austin-East Magnet High School student.
Bishop Stika also pledged to “do what I can to help.”
“Prayers are important, but communities must come together to find positive solutions to this ongoing problem in our country,” he said.
Knoxville Police Officer Adam Willson, who was serving as a school resource officer at the school, was recovering from surgery after being shot, officials reported on 13th April.
Police did not identify the student who died.
The shootings occurred about 3:15pm after police responded to a call that an armed student was in a school bathroom, said David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Willson was shot when the student fired at officers who entered the bathroom, Rausch said. The student was killed by return fire from police, he said.
Knoxville police have said that no evidence points to any connection between this shooting and the earlier incidents claiming the lives of the other four teenagers.
Picture: Police respond to a shooting at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tenn., on 12th April 2021. (CNS photo/Brianna Paciorka, News Sentinel, USA Today Network via Reuters).