Monday 20 November 2017

Trump calls Las Vegas massacre 'an act of pure evil' but fails to mention gun control

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump

Kathy Armstrong

Donald Trump has condemned an attack in Las Vegas that killed at least 59 people and injured 515 as an "act of pure evil" but failed to mention gun control.

President Trump was speaking this afternoon from the White House just hours after gunman Stephan Paddock fired shots at concert-goers at  the Route 91 Harvest Festival in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

He said: "We are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief. Last night, a gunman opened fire on a large crowd at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"He brutally murdered more than 50 people, and wounded hundreds more. It was an act of pure evil...

"I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of the first responders for their courageous efforts, and for helping to save the lives of so many.

"The speed with which they acted is miraculous, and prevented further loss of life.

"To have found the shooter so quickly after the first shots were fired is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful. It shows what true professionalism is all about."

Trump has also offered his condolences to the families of those killed.

He said: "Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one -- a parent, a child, a brother or sister.

"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."

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People tend to the wounded outside the festival ground after an apparent shooting on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
A pair of cowboy boots is shown in the street outside the concert venue after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas StripY
Police vehicles block a street corner after a deadly shooting at a music festival (AP Photo/Ronda Churchill)
A woman sits on a curb at the scene of a shooting outside of a music festival along the Las Vegas Strip
Blurred image of heavily armed police officers running
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01 People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
People react at gunshots heard at music festival in Las Vegas, U.S., October 1, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. @RTBLECKvia REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Police officers advise people to take cover near the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting
Las Vegas Shooting

Gunman Stephen Paddock (64) opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel before he killed himself, at least ten firearms were found in the room where he died.

According to the Gunviolence Archive, there have been 46,595 gun incidents in US so far this year.

Approximately 11,652 people have died in these incidents and a further 23,516 have been injured. There are an estimated 22,000 deaths in the US through suicide each year using guns.

Trump failed to mention gun control during his speech.

He said that he has instructed the US flag to be flown at half-mast until Friday as a mark of respect for the dead and injured.

He also confirmed that he will travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday to visit the victims of the attack and their families.

Read More: Las Vegas atrocity: Suspect (64) killed himself in hotel room filled with 10 firearms after 50 people shot dead

People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Trump continued to say that people must stand together after the massacre.

He said: "In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one -- and it always has. We call upon the bonds that unite us -- our faith, our family, and our shared values.

"We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity.

Marilou Danley was being sought by police after a gunman opened fire on the Las Vegas strip
Marilou Danley was being sought by police after a gunman opened fire on the Las Vegas strip

"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 our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today -- and always will, forever.

"In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy.

"But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope."

An FBI spokesman has said there is "no connection" between the massacre and any international terrorist group.

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