Health News

Gun violence is ‘a public health crisis’

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra confirmed in a statement Thursday that an employee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was one of the victims of a shooting in Atlanta on Wednesday.

“Last night, we learned the tragic news that Amy St. Pierre, an HHS colleague at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was the victim of a senseless shooting in Atlanta, Georgia,” Becerra said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to her husband Julian St. Pierre, her children, and all her loved ones at this difficult time.”

He said that her work was focused on improving maternal health at the CDC, and declared that gun violence had become a “public health crisis” in America.

“We are all still trying to process this heart-breaking news,” he added. “But there is no escaping that gun violence is tearing the American family apart and has become a public health crisis.”

On Wednesday evening, police arrested 24-year-old Deion Patterson, who is accused of shooting and killing St. Pierre and injuring four others at a medical facility in Atlanta. Four women between the ages of 25 and 71 were hospitalized as a result of the shooting.

“CDC is deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of a colleague killed yesterday in the Midtown Atlanta shooting,” the CDC said in a statement Thursday, posted to Twitter. “Our hearts are with her family, friends and colleagues as they remember her and grieve this tragic loss.”

St. Pierre’s family also issued a statement, saying that she was a mother to two children and a sister to two brothers, according to ABC News.

“Our beloved Amy was brilliant, kind, big-hearted and simply the ‘best of the best,’” her family said in a statement. “Loving wife and mother of two, middle sister to two brothers, and cherished daughter, she is truly our pride and joy.”

“An Emory honors graduate and Georgia State MBA, Amy traveled the world with curiosity and courage,” her family continued. “She was driven by compassion, both in her work in the field of maternal mortality and in her everyday life. Amy was always selfless, she wanted more for others but never for herself. Generous supporter of worthy causes, she is the social conscience of our family.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.