US President Donald Trump has spoken of “terrible violence, hatred, and evil” in response to yesterday’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Seventeen people were killed and 14 others were hurt after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who is a former student, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
“Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families,” said Trump in his statement.
“No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning,” he added.
The president was silent on the issue of gun control. Earlier today, he suggested the suspect was “mentally disturbed.”
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.
Cruz purchased the AR-15 legally about a year ago, a law enforcement official who is familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The official, not authorized to discuss this publicly, spoke on condition of anonymity. Federal law allows people 18 and older to legally purchase long guns, including this kind of assault weapon.
Florida governor vows to keep mentally ill from getting guns
Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he’s already told House Speaker Paul Ryan that “if someone is mentally ill he should not have access to a gun.” Broward County Schools Superintendent Rob Runcie said “now is the time to have a real conversation about gun control legislation,” and said that if adults can’t manage that in their lifetimes, he said students will do it.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel called for giving law enforcement more power to detain people who make threats.
“What I’m asking our lawmakers to do is go back to places like Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., to give police the power,” the sheriff said, to detain people who make graphic threats or post disturbing material online, and bring them involuntarily to mental health professionals to be examined.
The sheriff said law enforcement can certainly visit gun owners whose mental health is questioned, “whether they have a gun legally or not.”
Thirteen wounded survivors were hospitalized, including two people in critical condition. The sheriff said some bodies remained inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as authorities investigate the crime scene. The slain included a school athletic director and another adult who worked as a monitor at the school. Runcie called them heroes.