|Date: 20/07/2012 Time: 07:49:00 PM
Addressing what was to be a gathering of
campaign supporters in Fort Myers, Florida, on Friday, President Barack Obama
made brief remarks about the mass shooting in Colorado, then canceled the rest
of the political event, as well as a scheduled campaign appearance in Orlando,
before preparing to return early to the White House in the afternoon.
"Even as we learn how this happened and who is responsible, we may never
understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this,
" Obama told the crowd in Fort Myers.
"Such violence, such evil is senseless. It is beyond reason. But while we
will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do
know what makes life worth living. The people we lost in Aurora loved, and
they were loved. They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives;
sisters and brothers; sons and daughters; friends and neighbors. They had
hopes for the future, and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled."
The apartment of the suspect in custody, James Holmes, 24, who had been a
student at the University of Colorado Medical School, had been booby-trapped
with what police described as sophisticated explosives or flammable material,
and officers were trying to determine how to defuse the device or devices,
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. The area had been evacuated, and police
were expected to remain on the scene "for hours or days," he said.
Authorities said the gunman appeared at the front of a movie theater in
Aurora during a midnight movie screening and released a canister of tear gas.
Witnesses told reporters that the gunfire erupted during a shootout scene in
"The Dark Knight Rises," the latest film in the Batman series.
Twelve people were killed and 38 wounded, according to the latest tally.
The number of those hospitalized in critical condition rose from four to nine,
"If there is anything to take away from this tragedy it is the reminder
that life is very fragile," Obama said in Florida.
"Our time here is limited, and it is precious. And what matters at the end
of the day is not the small things, it is not the trivial things, which so
often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it is how we choose to treat
one another and how we love one another."
"It is what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give
our lives purpose," the President said. "That is what matters. At the end of
the day, what we will remember will be those we loved and what we did for
others. That is why we are here."
A somber Obama noted that many in the audience "are parents here who had
the same reaction that I did when I heard this news. My daughters go to the
movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our
kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a
little tighter tonight, and I am sure you will do the same with your children.
But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let
them know we will be there for them as a nation."
The shooting occurred in the Century 16 Movie Theaters at Aurora Town
Center. Aurora is a suburb less than 10 miles east of downtown Denver.