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Trump meets Vegas shooting victims, refuses to speak on gun control laws

By Lalit K Jha
October 05, 2017 12:55 IST
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With his countrymen still coming to grips with the deadliest mass shooting in Las Vegas early this week, United States President Donald Trump has said America is truly a nation in mourning as he thanked the first responders who rushed to save lives.

IMAGE: US President Donald Trump is greeted by survivor family members Shelby Stalker and Stephanie Melanson, left, after meeting with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, right. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump travelled to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and victims of the mass shooting in the casino city.

In the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, at least 59 people were killed and over 500 injured after a gunman on the 32nd floor of a hotel and casino opened fire on people at an outdoor country music festival below.

Surrounded by first responders, a somber looking Trump accompanied with the First Lady consoled the nation.

"The mass murder that took place on Sunday night fills America's heart with grief. America is truly a nation in mourning," Trump said in his remarks.

The President returned to White House late evening. He also visited injured in hospital.

IMAGE: Trump and first lady Melania meet cops at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department with first responders who reacted to the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

He spoke of Charleston Hartfield, an off-duty police officer who died in the massacre.

"We cannot be defined by the evil that threatens us. ... We are defined by our love, our caring and our courage....," he said.

"Words cannot describe the bravery that the whole world witnessed on Sunday night," he said during a brief speech at the Las Vegas Police Department Command Centre.

IMAGE: Trump speaks to media after meeting with police at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump said the Americans defied death and hatred with love and courage and thanked the first responders on the behalf of the "grateful nation".

"In the months ahead, we will all have to wrestle with the horror of what has unfolded this week, but we will struggle through it together, we will endure the pain together, and we will overcome together as Americans," Trump said.

The US president however refrained from talking about gun control laws, the debate over which has rekindled in the aftermath of the shooting.

"We're not going to talk about that today," he said.

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Lalit K Jha
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