The news of the Aurora shootings elicited a widespread reaction among elected officials of shock at the brutality of the act and sympathy for the victims and their families, as politicians took to Twitter and their websites to get their messages out.
President Barack Obama, speaking in Florida, led a crowd in a moment of silence and called for Americans to reflect on the senseless act of violence.
“Even as we learn how this happened and who's responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this,” Obama said. “If there's anything to take away from this tragedy it's the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and precious.”
Earlier, he sent out a statement, which said, “Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come."
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sent a statement also, which said, "Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."
Colorado elected officials weighed in as well.
Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement, "This is not only an act of extreme violence, it is also an act of depravity. It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning. Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed, and we share the grief of everyone affected by this senseless event. We appreciate the swift work by local, state and federal law enforcement. Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This one of those times."
Sen. Mark Udall said, "I am deeply saddened and outraged by these senseless and tragic shootings. My thoughts go out to the families and friends of those killed, and I am praying for a speedy recovery for those who were wounded. My staff and I are in close contact with officials on the ground and will offer any federal resources needed to investigate this terrible crime and bring those responsible to justice."
His Colorado colleague, Sen. Michael Bennet said: "This was horrible, senseless and abhorrent act. My family and I are shocked and deeply saddened this morning and our hearts are with the victims and their families. My staff and I are in contact with and offering our support to law enforcement and medical officials as they respond to the shooting."
Rep. Mike Coffman whose district borders Aurora, the site of the shooting, said: "My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families in this senseless act of violence. I've lived in Aurora almost all of my life and nothing like this has ever happened here. This was the type of violence that I would have expected when I served in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps but never here at home."
Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette called the shooting "inexplicable" and a "horrific act of violence."
"We are all profoundly saddened by this senseless attack. My family and I join with all Coloradoans and those across the country today in praying for the victims and their families and loved ones," she said in a statement. "While we do not yet know the identities of the victims, in the coming days and weeks I know that all of us in the Denver-area will offer our support and assistance to those impacted by this shocking tragedy."
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said that, "Confronted with incomprehensible evil, Americans pull together and embrace our national family more tightly."
"I join President Obama, and every American, in sending my thoughts and prayers to the victims of this awful tragedy. We will all stand with them, as one nation, in the days ahead," said Boehner, in a statement.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "I am deeply saddened by the terrible shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies continue to respond to this horrific event and I have directed the Department of Homeland Security to provide any support necessary in the ongoing investigation. We are committed to bringing those responsible to justice. Our hearts and prayers go out to anyone impacted by this tragedy, especially the family and friends of those killed or injured."
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said, “This sick tragedy in Colorado is deeply upsetting and sad. My wife Jeanette and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives, and pray for the recovery of those who were injured. In this time of sorrow, we hope the victims of this senseless act of violence find at least some comfort and strength in God’s love.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Twitter: “Having lived in Denver, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Aurora today. May God continue to bring you comfort.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California called the shootings a "senseless act of violence that took the lives of innocent people."
"As local law enforcement, first responders, and medical professionals work tirelessly in the aftermath, the federal government will be a partner," Pelosi said in a statement. "The thoughts and prayers of all Members of Congress are with Coloradans this morning as they grapple with the random, senseless act of violence that took the lives of innocent people.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said: "This senseless massacre of so many innocent people gathered with friends and family in a movie theater reminds us not only of the great evil that exists in the hearts of some, but of the great and precious gift of life.”
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said: "I join in mourning the tragic loss of life in Colorado this morning. The families of the victims, the many injured, and all those in Aurora are in my thoughts and in my prayers. It is in times like these that Americans have always rallied together as one community and one family, and we do so again today.
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said: "Jane and I join all Americans in expressing our condolences to the families and friends of those whose lives were cut short by the senseless act of violence in Colorado last night. They are in our prayers this morning, as are those victims who were injured and a community now in grief."
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, said, "As someone who has suffered the lasting impact of gun violence, and president of Brady, I can tell you that we don't want sympathy. We want action. Just this past April 16, the anniversary of the worst mass shooting in American history, 32 victims of gun violence joined us to demand Congress take action to stop arming dangerous people."
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas had a markedly different take than Bloomberg on the event: "It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” he asked.
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