Trump Says Nation Prays with 'Heavy Heart' Following Mass Shooting at School

February 15, 2018 07:25 PM

President Donald Trump says Wednesday's mass shooting turned a Florida school into a "scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil."

Trump is addressing the nation a day after the shooting that killed at least 17 people. The president was silent on the issue of gun control. Earlier Thursday, he suggested the suspect was "mentally disturbed."

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Trump says the entire nation "with one heavy heart" is praying for the victims and their families.

An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and his own AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years.

RELATED: Florida Teen Charged with 17 Murders in School Attack Legally Bought AR-15

The president has dealt before with the all-too-familiar ritual of offering consolation after horrific violence. In the wake of a Las Vegas shooting in October that killed at least 58 people, Trump spoke from the White House Diplomatic Room, calling it an "act of pure evil," and seeking to help the nation heal.

In the past, he has largely focused on mental health as a cause for mass shootings, dismissing questions about gun control.

RELATED: 17 Dead, at Least 14 Injured in Florida High School Shooting

After a shooting at a Texas church left 26 people dead in November, the president also said "mental health" was the problem, adding that "this isn't a guns situation." When he visited Las Vegas to mourn with the families of those victims, Trump called the shooter "demented" and a "very sick individual," though he added that "we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by."

Cruz had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for "disciplinary reasons," Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Scott Israel said.

Mayor Beam Furr said on CNN that the shooter was getting treatment at a mental health clinic for a while, but that he hadn't been back to the clinic for more than a year.

RELATED: Florida School Shooting Suspect's 'Disturbing' Social Media Posts being Dissected

Credits

The Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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