Colorado Shooting Victim Offers Forgiveness
National Catholic Reporter – Aurora, CO, theater shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who survived after being shot three times, has offered his forgiveness to James Holmes, the alleged shooter. Twelve people were killed and 58 more injured when a gunman entered the theater during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises and opened fire on the crowd.
Shortly after emerging from surgery, O’Farrill was interviewed by radio host Todd Schnitt. Asked what he would say to Holmes, O’Farrill responded, “I’m truly blessed to have forgiveness in my heart, and I do forgive him completely for what he’s done.”
“I honestly would like to see him. I would like to talk to him. I’m a man of deeply devoted faith,” O’Farrill explained. “Jesus is my world, and Jesus is how I get through every single day; and that’s how I got through this ordeal.”
O’Farrill said that he has been praying for Holmes, and if he had the chance to speak with him, “the first words that I would say are: ‘I forgive you, James.'”
The 28-year-old, who works as the vehicle donation coordinator for the Denver Rescue Mission, said that he “was blessed” to survive the shooting and emphasized that what happened was “not God’s fault.”
He also said that he believes Holmes should receive life in prison rather than the death penalty.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, said that O’Farrill’s willingness to forgive such a “heinous evil” shows “the depth of his faith.”
Archbishop Aquila stressed that while it might take time, forgiveness is important in ultimately healing the wounds left by sin and avoiding continued resentment and bitterness.
“Forgiveness for the Christian is absolutely essential,” he said. “We have to remember that Jesus Christ himself died a violent death and that he forgave from the cross.”