“There are going to be other days for politics. This is a day, I think, for prayers and reflection,” the president told the crowd which had gathered in anticipation of a campaign rally, The Post’s David Nakamura reported.
At least 12 people have died and dozens more were wounded in the late-night shooting. “Law enforcement authorities identified the alleged gunman as James Holmes, 24, and said he was taken into custody in a parking lot behind the Century 16 theater after the attack,” Sari Horwitz and Debbi Wilgoren reported. Follow The Post for live updates throughout the day.
“We may never understand whatever leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings … we do know what makes life worth living,” the president said before leading the crowd in Florida in a moment of silence.
“I hope all of you will keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds today,” the president said. “May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in the hard days to come. ... I hope that as a consequence of today’s events, as you leave here, you spend a little time thinking about the incredible blessings that God has given us.”
A White House statement read:
“As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.
Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney also put out a statement Friday:
“We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. ... We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Standing outside a business in New Hampshire Friday afternoon, Romney evoked prayer and God as he commented about the killings.
"This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how we love one another and how much love and how much we care about our great country … Our hearts break for the victims and their families. We pray that the wounded will recover, and that those who are grieving will know the nearness of God,” said Romney, who also pulled presidential campaign ads in the state and suspended political activity for the rest of the day.
He remarked about grief and the helplessness victims, their families and the Aurora community must feel, adding, “But there is something we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy-laden. And we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado.”
“Romney has not been known to throw out LDS references in his speeches, though has noted Bible passages before. (h/t to Daniel Burton.),” Stack wrote. “In fact, ‘mourn with those who mourn’ can also be found in the New International Version of the New Testament in Romans 12:15: ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.’”
Daniel Burke at Religion News Service has a Storify up with early responses from religious leaders and other spiritual reflections on the killings. Read them below: