HAGATNA, GUAM – A special Mass was celebrated Sunday at Guam’s main Catholic church for the victims of last week’s attack that killed three Japanese tourists and wounded 11 others.
“We, the Catholics, express our condolences to the loved ones” of the victims of Tuesday’s tragedy, Archbishop Anthony Apuron said in his homily before more than 500 attendees, including Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo. “We promise our continuous prayers and support.”
Apuron also said that despite what happened, “there can be a glimmer of hope” for the victims and their families, as well as the community, noting: “We are not a violent community. . . . We hope the community will recover from this tragedy.”
About 120,000 of Guam’s estimated 160,000 population are Catholics.
The Mass, held at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in the island’s capital of Hagatna, was also attended by four family members of the victims, accompanied by Japanese Consul General Hisatsugu Shimizu. They included relatives of Hitoshi Yokota, a 51-year-old from Ibaraki who died at a local hospital after being hit by the assailant’s vehicle, according to attendees to the Mass.
Rie Sugiyama, 28, and her grandmother, Kazuko Uehara, 81, — both from Tochigi — were also killed in the rampage in a busy shopping district Tuesday night.
On Saturday, the bereaved family of Sugiyama and Uehara issued a statement saying they are “totally at a loss about what to do” after losing their loved ones.
“The anger and sadness only increases by day,” said the statement, released through the city office of Tochigi. “We cannot sleep at night and cannot accept the fact that they have passed away.”
Local resident Chad Ryan De Soto, 21, is accused of driving his car onto a sidewalk and plowing into pedestrians before crashing it into a convenience store. He then got out and started stabbing people with a knife.