President Donald Trump Responds to Las Vegas Shooting, Deadliest in U.S. History
Like many Americans, President Trump awoke Monday (Oct. 2) to news of the mass shooting that occurred at the 2017 Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas late Sunday night.
Trump took the podium in the White House's Diplomatic Reception Room to issue an official statement shortly after 10:30AM ET Monday morning, calling the Las Vegas shooting — the deadliest shooting in U.S. history — "an act of pure evil."
"We are joined together in sadness, shock and grief," the president said, ordering that flags be flown at half-staff. "In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one and it always has."
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are currently working on an investigation. President Trump is traveling to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with law enforcement and first responders who were on the scene as the domestic terrorist shot into a crowd of more than 20,000 country music fans as they were taking in a set from Jason Aldean.
"The speed in which they acted is miraculous," Trump adds of law enforcement's efforts in locating the shooter, who has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. "It shows what true professionalism is all about." Trump also expressed condolences to the families grieving the death of the victims — more than 50 people were killed and 400 injured, and Trump insists "we cannot fathom" their pain and loss.
"Our unity cannot be shattered by evil ... we pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace," the president concluded.
Paddock sat in a 32nd story Mandalay Bay hotel room and fired into the outdoor venue crowd below. Fans were watching Aldean's headlining set at the outdoor Las Vegas Village arena.
Aldean ran offstage mid-song when he realized what was happening. "I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe,” he writes on social media. “My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”
The gunman is said to have killed himself before police arrived.
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Jake Owen, Big & Rich, Kane Brown and Luke Combs also performed performing at the festival. Owen took to social media following the indecent, saying he could hear the gunshots hitting the stage. He's since spoken to CNN and the Bobby Bones Show about the horrifying events and how things unfolded, from his perspective.
“This sounded like a full-on, automatic rifle just unloading at that point,” he says to the Bobby Bones Show. “Jason was out on the catwalk, he just pulled his guitar up in the air and started running back towards the drum set to get off the stage. And that’s when you knew. People started fleeing. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Sadly, This Tragedy Isn't Without Precedent