WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history as an "act of pure evil" and said the nation was "joined together in sadness, shock and grief" after more than 50 people were gunned down in Las Vegas.
Speaking slowly and somberly from the White House, Trump declared that the nation would rally together in the face of the latest act of senseless violence.
"Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence," the president said. "We call upon the bonds that unite us: our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity."
In the measured statement, Trump did not describe the gunman in any way or suggest any possible motivation or affiliation. He praised the first responders who he said prevented further loss of life and said he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday. He offered condolences to the families of those killed, saying "We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss."
"We are praying for you," he said. "We are here for you."
He also ordered that the American flag at the White House and at all public buildings across the nation be flown at half-staff.
Trump spoke hours after a gunman on the 32nd floor of a Vegas Strip casino unleashed a hail of bullets on an outdoor country music festival below. The gunman killed at least 50 people as tens of thousands of concertgoers screamed and ran for their lives.
More than 400 other victims were taken to hospitals, and investigators spent Monday morning combing the debris-strewn concert site along the iconic Vegas Strip.
Trump, who quoted from Scripture and invoked God several times, said he prays for the day when the "innocent are safe from hatred and from fear."
"At times such as these I know we are searching for some type of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers will not come easy," the president said.
Hours earlier, he tweeted "my warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!" First Lady Melania Trump tweeted, "My heart and prayers goes out to victims, families & loved ones! #PrayForLasVegas"
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that officials "are monitoring the situation closely and offer our full support to state and local officials." She sad that the president had spoken to the governor of Nevada, the mayor of Las Vegas and the city's sheriff.
The U.S. Homeland Security Department said there was no "specific credible threat" involving other locations. Police have not yet determined a motive in the shootings.
SWAT teams using explosives stormed the gunman's room in the Mandalay Bay hotel and found he had killed himself, authorities said. He had as many as 10 guns with him, including rifles, they said.
The gunman was identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada. He had checked into the hotel room on Thursday, authorities said.
Since Trump's inauguration, there have been other mass shootings, including one in Texas last month, when a gunman killed eight and was fatally shot by police. But the Las Vegas attack is the deadliest in U.S. history.
The president offered a somber response in June, after a shooting at a shooting at a congressional baseball practice that wounded five, including seriously injuring Rep. Steve Scalise. But Trump has drawn criticism for more inflammatory and self-referential reactions to other acts of violence.