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Posted: February 15, 2018

Read: Trump addresses nation after deadly Florida high school shooting

WATCH: President Trump Addresses the Nation After Florida School Shooting

By Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk


President Donald Trump addressed the nation Thursday, one day after a gunman opened fire on students and staff at a high school in Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others.

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Authorities had a suspect in custody after the attack, identified as former student Nikolas Cruz, 19. Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in connection with the mass shooting.

Read the president’s full comments below:

My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief. Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil. Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, police responded to reports of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida -- a great and safe community. There, a shooter, who is now in custody, opened fire on defenseless students and teachers. He murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others.

>> Related: Olympic figure skaters dedicate performance to slain Florida high schoolers 

Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families. To every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly: we are here for you – whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family and your suffering is our burden also.

No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school. 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.

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.

Today we mourn for all of those who lost their lives. We comfort the grieving and the wounded, and we hurt for the entire community of Parkland, Florida, that is now in shock and pain and searching for answers.

>> Related: Florida school shooting: Probe focuses on gunman's motives, victims' lives

To law enforcement, first responders and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We thank you for your courage. Soon after the (shooting), I spoke with Gov. (Rick) Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can. I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. I’m making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials and to continue coordinating the fed response. 

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.”

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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. Answer hate with love, answer cruelty with kindness.

>> Related: Florida school shooting: Students describe terror, panic during rampage 

We must also work together 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. 

Our administration is working closely with local 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.

Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference. 

>> Related: Just before school shooting, Parkland ranked as one of Florida's safest cities

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 -- and so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close. Let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow

Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you very much.

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