President Barack Obama held a press conference Sunday about the Orlando, Florida, mass shooting.
“As Americans we grieve the brutal murder, horrific massacre of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families who are grasping for answers with broken hearts, we stand with the people of Orlando who have endured a terrible attack on their city.
Although it is still early in the investigation, we have to say this was an act of terror and an act of hate, and as Americans we are united in grief and outrage.
I just finished a meeting with FBI Director Comey and my homeland security and national security advisors. The FBI is on the scene and leading the investigation in partnership with local law enforcement. I have directed that the full resources of the federal government be made available for this investigation.
We are still learning all the facts. This is an open investigation. We have reached no definitive judgement on the precise motivations of the killer. The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism, and I have directed that we must spear no effort to determine what, if any, inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred.
Over the coming days we will uncover why and how this happened and we will go wherever the facts lead us. This morning I spoke with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and I conveyed to him the deepest condolences of the American people. This could have been anyone of our communities, so I told Dyer that whatever help he and the people of Orlando need they are going to get it. As a country we will be there for the people of Orlando today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.
We also express our profound gratitude to all the police and first responders who rushed to harm’s way. Their courage and professionalism saved lives and kept the carnage from being even worse. That is the kind of sacrifice our law enforcement make every single day for all of us and we can never thank them enough.
This is an especially heartbreaking day for all of our friends and fellow Americans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub, it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds and to advocate for their civil rights, so this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation is an attack on all of us, and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. No act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle, this massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easily it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, in a house of worship, in a movie theater or in a nightclub, and we have to decide if that is the kind of country we want to be. To actively do nothing, is a decision as well.
In the coming hours and days we will learn about the victims of this tragedy. Their names, their faces, who they were, the joy that they brought to families and to friends, and the difference that they made in this world. Say a prayer for them. Say a prayer for their families. May God give them the strength to bear the unbearable and that he can give us all the strength to be there for them and the strength and courage to change. We need to demonstrate that we are defined more as a country by the way they lived their lives than by the hate of the man who took them from us.
As we go together we will draw information from heroic and selfless acts, friends who helped friends, took care of each other and saved lives. In the face of hate and violence we will love one another. We will not give into fear or turn against each other; instead we will stand united as Americans to protect our people and defend our nation and to take action against those who threaten us. May God bless the Americans we lost this morning, comfort their families and may God continue to watch over this country that we love.”