Priest Kenneth Walker Killed: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

An unknown assailant shot one priest dead and critically wounded another Wednesday night in a suspected burglary at a Phoenix church.

The Arizona Republic reports that cops rushed to a burglary call at the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission just after 9 p.m. and discovered the two victims.

The Diocese of Phoenix identified the deceased priest as 28-year-old Father Kenneth Walker, and the wounded priest as 56-year-old Father Joseph Terra.

Here’s what you should know about Father Walker and the crime that took his life.

1. Terra Was Praying Over Walker When Cops Arrived

ABC15 reporter Christopher Sign reports via Twitter that sources described the emotional scene encountered by first responders as they arrived at the church. Terra, who placed the 911 call, was praying over Walker’s body.

2. A TV Reporter Found the Getaway Car

After the attack, cops were on the lookout for a gray Mazda Tribute. 12News reporter Chris Williams and his colleague, photographer Garrett Wichmann, found the vehicle on the side of the road and flagged down a passing officer.

Police are processing the car for fingerprints.

3. Terra Was Badly Hurt But Not Shot

father kenneth walker, father joseph terra, priest killed in phoenix

While Terra is reportedly in critical but stable condition, police tell the Arizona Republic that Terra was not shot nor stabbed. It’s unclear how he suffered his injuries.

4. Walker Had Been a Priest for Just 2 Years

Kenneth Walker's ordination. (

Kenneth Walker’s ordination. (

Walker joined the Mother of Mercy mission as a deacon in February 2012, according to the mission’s website.

father kenneth walker, priest killed in phoenix

On Saturday, May 19, 2012, he was ordained, reports the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter website:

Father Kenneth Walker FSSP was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz on Saturday, May 19, 2012, offering his First Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, in the chapel of Saints Peter and Paul. The sermon was given by Fr. John Berg FSSP, the General Superior of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

You can read another account of his ordination at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom’s website.

He then returned to Mother of Mercy as an assistant priest.

5. Catholics Everywhere Are Praying for Walker & Terra

Word quickly spread throughout the national Catholic community, with calls for prayer following — both for Walker’s soul and Terra’s recovery.

The New Liturgical Movement site implores:

Of your charity, please pray for the eternal repose of Fr. Walker, for Fr Terra’s recovery, for their families and for their parishioners.

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