Knights of Columbus Mourns Death of Judge John Roll in Arizona Shooting

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2011   |   1:28PM   |   Tucson, AZ

The Knights of Columbus, a prominent Catholic group known for its pro-life work, is today mourning the death of one of the victims of the Arizona shooting Saturday.

In addition to the injury of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Judge John Roll, who was nominated by former President George Bush, was killed along with five other people.

Roll, who was the chief judge for the District of Arizona, was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and was a charter member of a Knights council in his hometown.

Carl Anderson, the head of the pro-life Catholic fraternal order, today expressed “profound sadness” at the death of Roll and the others.He asked the 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families to pray for the recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 other people who were seriously injured in the attack.

“The senseless carnage in Tucson is a terrible tragedy for the victims, their families, the people of Arizona and people of good will everywhere,” Anderson said in a statement to  “We feel a tremendous sense of loss at Judge Roll’s death, and for all, young and old, who lost their lives in this attack. We pray for God’s mercy on all who have been touched by this tragedy.”

“At a time like this, it is tempting to respond with anger, and for some, to attempt to use the tragedy to stoke the fires of division. That would only compound the tragedy,” Anderson continued. “As the late Senator Robert Kennedy said following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘What we need in the United States is not division . . . not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another.”

Roll, a faithful Catholic, had just attended daily Mass before stopping to greet Rep. Giffords at her community meeting.

Anderson called him a “dedicated public servant who understood this very well” who should be “honor[ed] by embracing those qualities of ‘love and wisdom and compassion.'”

Roll had been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 24 years and members of the Fourth Degree will provide an honor guard at his funeral next week.