President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Las Vegas to personally meet and thank the men and women who prevented Sunday night’s massacre from claiming even more lives, celebrating the first responders as “heroes” and calling for unity among all Americans.
In a mournful statement, Trump acknowledged that many families across the country were coping with the loss of a family member or loved one.
“The mass murder that took place on Sunday night fills America’s heart with grief,” he said. “America is truly a nation of mourning.”
“In the depths of horror, we will always find hope in the men and women who risked their lives for ours… we stand together to help you carry your pain,” he said. You are not alone. We will never leave your side.”
At least 59 people died and 530 people were injured when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival, sending frantic victims running for cover. Trump praised the members of law enforcement who remained calm in the face of panic and helped others escape to safety.
“While everyone else was crouching, police officers were standing up as targets just trying to direct people and tell them where to go,” Trump said.
The president also praised the many civilians who risked life and limb to rescue total strangers from harm’s way.
“Words cannot describe the bravery that the whole world witnessed on Sunday night,” he said. “Americans defied death and hatred with love and with courage… For every hero who helped, every hero saved so many lives. And believe me, a grateful nation thanks you.”