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Trump in Las Vegas: 'America Is a Nation in Mourning'

Trump in Las Vegas: 'America Is a Nation in Mourning'
President Donald Trump speaks after meeting with first responders and private citizens that helped during the mass shooting, at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Oct. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 04 October 2017 04:50 PM

President Donald Trump praised Las Vegas police, first responders and hospital staffers Wednesday for their work after Sunday's shooting rampage that killed 58 people and injured 527 others, saying that "America is truly a nation in mourning."

"In the depths of horror we will always find hope," Trump said at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, flanked by officers, first lady Melania Trump, and state, local and federal legislators. "This mass murder fills America's heart with grief.

"Many families tonight will go to bed in a world that is suddenly empty. The people they so dearly love were torn away from them forever.

"Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter," Trump said. "We know that your sorrow feels endless.

"We stand together to help you carry your pain.

"You are not alone. We will never leave your side.

"We struggle for the words to explain to our children how such evil can exist, how there can be such cruelty and suffering," the president said.

"But we cannot be defined by the evil that threatens us or the violence that insights such terror.

"We are defined by our love and courage," he said. "In the darkest moments, what shines most brightly is the goodness that thrives in the hearts of our people.

"That goodness is our lighthouse and our solace is knowledge that the souls of those who passed are now at peace in heaven."

Stephen Paddock's nine-minute hail of gunfire from his 32nd-floor suite in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino rained down on 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, fatally shot himself as police closed in on his room.

Trump on Wednesday called Paddock a "sick, demented man" — adding that the shooter's "wires are screwed up."

Authorities found 23 guns in Paddock's room Sunday, later confiscating a total of 47 from there and his homes in Mesquite and Reno.

They also found three cameras — two in the hall outside Paddock's room and one in the door's peephole — that authorities said were used to alert him to when they were arriving.

Paddock had fitted 12 semi-automatic rifles in the suite with devices that allowed the guns to fire like automatic weapons, Jill Snyder, special agent in charge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said Wednesday.

He also purchased 33 firearms, mostly rifles, between October 2016 and Sept. 28, three days before the rampage, Snyder said.

FBI officials were interviewing Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, 62, who returned to Los Angeles Tuesday from her native Philippines, where Paddock had wired $100,000 last week.

She was abroad during Sunday's attack. Authorities have described Danley as "a person of interest" in the shooting.

They had been dating since earlier this year, according to news reports.

Paddock's financial transaction is among many others that are also under investigation.

Also on Wednesday, President Trump toured the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, telling trauma center staffers that their service "makes you very proud to be an American."

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"Some of the most amazing people," he said. "We met patients that were absolutely, terribly wounded.

"The doctors, the nurses, all of the people of the hospital have done a job that's indescribable.

"And they were full the night that it happened before it happened."

Dr. John Fildes, the trauma center's medical director, told the president that 100 of Paddock's victims were brought to UMC and 50 were admitted.

"What I saw today is just an incredible tribute to professionalism," Trump said. "What they have done is incredible.

"And you never want to see it again. That I can tell you."

He also lauded the bravery of the victims.

"Some were very, very badly wounded — and they were badly wounded because they refused to leave.

"They wanted to help others because they saw people going down all over," he added. "And it's an incredible thing to see.

"There's tremendous bravery. The police department, incredible. The people themselves, incredible. People leaving ambulances to have somebody else go because they thought they were hurt, even more so.

"The professionalism of the doctors and the medical staffs at this hospital and at other hospitals.

"The community covered everything," he said. "They did a perfect job."

Trump told reporters that he had invited many of the victims to visit the White House whenever they are in Washington.

"We're with you 100 percent," the president said. "I'll be there for them.

"We have a great country and we are there for you. And they're there for us."

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President Donald Trump praised Las Vegas police, first responders and hospital staffers Wednesday for their work after Sunday's shooting rampage that killed 58 people and injured 527 others, saying that "America is truly a nation in mourning."
donald trump, las vegas, visit, mourning
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 04:50 PM
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