Elected officials at both the national and local levels have voiced grief and promised prayers and support after a shooting in Colorado left at least 12 people dead and dozens more wounded.
“It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed, and we share the grief of everyone affected by this senseless event.”
“Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis,” the governor said. “This one of those times.”
Early on the morning of July 20, during the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” a gunman entered Century Movie Theater in Aurora, Colo. According to reports, the man wore a gas mask and released at least one canister containing noxious gas before shooting members of the crowd.
The suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes, has been arrested. Current reports indicate that at least 12 individuals were killed and about 50 more were wounded in the incident.
As the deadliest mass shooting since the 2007 Virginia Tech tragedy, the July 20 event generated national concern.
President Barack Obama said that he was “shocked and saddened” to learn of the shooting.
“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,” the president said.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that he and his wife, Ann, are “praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief.”
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet said that his staff was offering support to legal and medical officials as they responded to the tragedy.
“This was a horrible, senseless and abhorrent act,” the senator said. “My family and I are shocked and deeply saddened this morning and our hearts are with the victims and their families.”
Numerous local officials also issued statements offering support, condolences and prayers for all those affected by the shooting.
State Rep. Rhonda Fields announced a 7 p.m. prayer vigil at the Aurora Municipal building. She welcomed people from surrounding areas to join her in praying for the victims and helping to support “the families, friends and community members whom have been impacted.”