WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said in an address to the nation Thursday that the United States was in mourning following the mass shooting at a school in Florida and vowed to work to prevent similar incidents in the future.
“No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school,” Trump said. “No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.”
On Wednesday, a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and wounding 15 others.
Trump said he planned to visit Parkland soon to meet with families and local officials.
The president said he was “committed” to working with state and local leaders to help “secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” but he did not mention gun control as a policy option.
The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been described in media reports as a troubled former student who had an obsessive interest in guns.
“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,” Trump said. “We must actually make that difference.”
Cruz used an AR-15 assault in his attack on the high school in the Fort Lauderdale suburb, police said.
“We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life that creates deep and meaningful human connections and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors,” Trump said.
On Thursday, a hospital spokesman told EFE that five of the people wounded in the shooting were still listed in critical condition.
Of the 15 wounded people transported from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to the Broward Health North hospital and Broward Health Medical Center on Wednesday, two died, five are in critical condition, three are in stable condition and the rest are recovering.
Cruz is being held at the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Cruz, who was expelled from the high school for fighting with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, used smoke grenades to set off the fire alarms and opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon, media reports said, citing investigators.
The shooting in Parkland, an affluent South Florida city, is the 17th incident involving firearms in schools in the US in the first 45 days of 2018.