Trump Calls Las Vegas Shooting "Act of Pure Evil," Stresses Unity
The mass shooting, the worst in modern U.S. history, has left more than 50 people dead and 400-plus injured.
President Donald Trump addressed the nation in a somber, stern and spiritual speech Monday morning after Monday's mass shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas left at least 58 people dead and 515 more wounded.
"We are joined together today in sadness, shock and grief," said Trump from the White House. "It was an act of pure evil."
Trump stressed unity while calling upon faith, God and shared values, including the bonds of citizenship, community and the "comfort of our" humanity. "In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one and it always has," he said of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history and the biggest during his watch as president.
"Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence, and though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today and always will, forever," he said. The FBI and Homeland Security are working with local authorities to assist in the ongoing investigation and Trump quickly thanked the Las Vegas police department and first responders. "The speed with which they reacted was tremendous and prevented further loss of life," he said, crediting how quickly they found the shooter.
Country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire across the street from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. SWAT teams quickly descended on the casino, using explosives to storm the gunman's hotel room to find he had killed himself, authorities said. The gunman had as many as 10 guns with him, including rifles, according to Las Vegas authorities.
"Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister," said Trump. "We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period."
Trump said he will be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday and that he and wife Melania are praying for the Americans who have been hurt or lost loved ones. "Searching for meaning in the chaos, light in the darkness, the answers do not come easy," he added.
Trump was scheduled to address the nation at 10:30 a.m. ET but was delayed due to real-time updates coming in for his speech.
He had first taken to Twitter to share his condolences early Monday morning. "My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting," he wrote. "God bless you!"
American flags will be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims until sunset on Oct. 6. The proclamation, issued by Trump, covers flags at the White House and all public buildings, military posts, naval stations and vessels throughout the U.S. and all territories, as well as embassies and military facilities overseas.