President Donald Trump offered his condolences Thursday to the grieving families of the 17 people killed in the school shooting that took place Wednesday in the town of Parkland just north of Miami, Florida.
"Today we mourn for all of those who lost their lives," the president said. "No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning."
"Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them, a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise," he continued. "Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world. And each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world."
He assured the town that all of America is praying for the victims and their families "with one heavy heart."
"In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to God's Word in scripture: 'I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you,' " he said. "We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow."
"I want to speak now directly to America's children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared: I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader," he said.
In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community, and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil - and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need. https://t.co/bu140nscez pic.twitter.com/OoTXMCSexB
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
Trump announced he plans to visit Parkland to visit with families in coming days.
The alleged gunman was reportedly an orphaned 19-year-old former student at the school who had a troubled past. Students and teachers say they saw warnings signs that he posed a danger to the school.
Trump, who suggested the teen was "mentally disturbed," vowed to work with authorities to address the issue of mental health and to make safer schools his "top priority."
"Our community is working with local law enforcement authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health," the president said.
President Trump is urging everyone to combat Wednesday's tragedy not with anger, but instead to "answer hate with love" and "cruelty with kindness."
"We must work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life," Trump admonished.
Meanwhile, the gunman has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder after unleashing the deadliest school shooting in the US in five years.