Sorrow Over Massacre in Parliament of Swiss Canton of Zug

Man Kills 14 People, Wounds 15, Before Committing Suicide

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2001 ( John Paul II was saddened by the news of Thursday´s massacre in the Parliament building of the Swiss canton of Zug.

Friedrich Leibacher, 57, rushed into the Parliament, brandishing a pistol and rifle, and opened fire at random, killing a total of 14 people — 10 deputies, the Parliament´s president, and three state advisers of the canton — and wounding an additional 15. The gunman then committed suicide.

«In this humanly incomprehensible and overwhelming situation because of the nature of the terrible event, the Holy Father bears in himself the questions and sorrow that disturb many, to present them to God in prayer, Lord of life and death,» Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in a telegram sent on behalf of the Pope, to Bishop Kurt Koch of Basle.

In the message, the Pope asks for eternal life for those killed. For those suffering in body and soul, he asks for healing and renewed courage to face life with the hope that stems from faith. He also express condolences for the relatives and friends of the victims.

The first ceremony in memory of the victims was held Thursday night in St. Oswald Church in Zug, attended by Moritz Leuenberger, president of the Helvetian Confederation. Afterward, hundreds of people went to Landsgemeinde Square carrying lit candles.

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