More than 50 people are confirmed dead after the mass shooting

By David Canfield
October 02, 2017 at 11:28 AM EDT

President Donald Trump struck a somber tone in response to Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, making repeated calls for unity and appeals to faith. He began, “We are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief.”

Trump then summarized the facts as they’re currently known. “[The gunman] brutally murdered more than 50 people and wounded hundreds more,” he said. “It was an act of pure evil.”

Trump confirmed the FBI and Homeland Security were working with local authorities and thanked the Las Vegas Police Department and first-responders for their “courageous efforts” in preventing further loss of life, saying they showed what “professionalism” is all about.

“To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you,” Trump added. “We ask God to help see you through this very dark period.” He confirmed that the flag would be flown at half-staff to memorialize the dead.

The remarks came after Trump tweeted, in his initial response, his “warmest condolences and sympathies,” and wrote, “God bless you!”

On Sunday night at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, a gunman shot at concert goers in rapid-fire barrage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a country music event where singer Jason Aldean was performing at the time of the attack. The Clark County Fire Department is estimating the injury toll to be north of 400, and with more than 50 people confirmed dead, it’s the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

The tragedy has renewed debates over gun control on social media. In her initial remarks on the mass shooting, Hillary Clinton expressed her grief before making a call for new legislative measures. “Our grief isn’t enough,” she tweeted. “We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”

In his official remarks, however, Trump stuck closely to his prepared script and did not offer thoughts on gun control or call the shooting an act of terror. “We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and fear,” he said in his conclusion. “May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost, may God gives us the grace of healing, and may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on.”

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