MIAMI (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump called on the U.S. to unite after a gunman opened fire over a country music concert – killing 59 people and injuring more than 500 people.
“We are joined together today in sadness, shock and grief,” said Trump. “It was an act of pure evil.”
Around 2:40 p.m., the president and vice president accompanied by their wives and White House staff, held a moment of silence on the South Lawn to honor victims of the shooting.
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders choked up while she was talking about the victims during the daily briefing.
“What these people did for each other says far more about who we are as Americans than the cowardly acts of a killer ever could,” said Sanders. “The memory of those who displayed the ultimate expression of love in the midst of an unimaginable act of hate will never fade. Their examples will serve as an eternal reminder that the American spirit cannot and will not ever be broken.”
The president ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims killed or injured at the concert late Sunday night outside of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
“To the families of the victims, we are praying for you and we are here for you,” said Trump.
The president had been briefed on the shooting by Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Authorities identified the accused gunman as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock who was found dead from self-inflicted wounds in the hotel room where police said he shot at concert-goers using a machine gun.
During his speech, Trump spared no time to thank first responders for their ‘courageous efforts’ and their ‘miraculous’ speed in finding the gunman.
“The speed with which they acted is miraculous and prevented further loss of life,” said Trump.
Trump tried to address the grief felt by the victims, family of victims and others around the U.S.
“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,” said Trump.
The president will be heading to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with families of the victims, first responders and law enforcement.
In the meantime, he called for Americans to unite after what is now the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.
“In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one and it always has,” said Trump.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working with local law enforcement in the investigation.