Saturday 21 September 2019

Irish priest (70) shot by armed gang in Peru

Father Gerry Desmond. Credit: Facebook / Diocese of Chosica
Father Gerry Desmond. Credit: Facebook / Diocese of Chosica

Sasha Brady

An elderly Irish priest was rushed to hospital after being shot by three armed men outside his home in Lima, Peru.

Local media report that Father Gerry Desmond was shot at approximately 10am on Saturday after withdrawing a sum of cash from an ATM.

It's believed he had been followed by an armed gang before being shot in both feet outside his house in the slum district of San Juan de Lurigancho.

In a statement, the Peruvian Diocese of Chosica said: "This morning, Father Gerardo Desmond, Pastor of Christ Liberator, of San Juan de Lurigancho, was assaulted by three armed men. After following him to the door of his house, the men surrounded him, beat him in the head and shot him in the feet to steal everything that he had."

It's understood that Father Desmond's injuries were not life-threatening and he was released from hospital on Saturday evening.

Father Desmond has provided pastoral aid to some of Lima's poorest communities for over a decade. He had previously worked in Manitoba, Canada.

The Irish priest opened a primary school in the San Juan de Lurigancho slum in 2011, as well as a community centre for youths and adults. He also campaigned for better facilities in the local chapels, including pews, windows, music equipment and PA systems.

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