U.S. President Donald Trump visited a Florida hospital in the aftermath of the deadly high school mass shooting incident this week to meet the injured survivors.
Trump expressed sadness at the incident and applauded the first responders, law enforcement, doctors and nurses for doing an “incredible” job. He however did not comment in regards to changing of gun laws.
The Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein has said that Nikolas Cruz, 19 will be pleading guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder so as to avoid the death penalty. He said that it was an opportunity to “put the criminal case behind” and help the victims and their families to heal.
The president and the first lady later met with law enforcement officials at the Broward County sheriff’s office as well.
Increasing Anger At Political Inaction
The visit came even as there has been mounting anger at political inaction with respect to gun control laws, and at the admission by the FBI that it had failed to act on a tip it had received regarding the alleged shooter’s instability.
The mood went from shock to loud protest at an emotional candlelit vigil attended by over 8,000 mourners at Pine Trails park which was led by Scott Israel, the sheriff of Broward County.
The city seemed to be overwhelmed with grief as families began the process of burying their dead.
According to police, Cruz, who had been expelled from the school last year, had used an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in the attack. He allegedly fired over 150 rounds at the school, and had abandoned several dozens of unspent rounds.
School students who have survived previous shooting incidents have attacked the continuing legislative inaction.
Cruz had legally purchased the rifle and also the ammunition used in the shooting at a gun store in the nearby city of Coral Springs after clearing a background check.
Gun Control Campaigns To Continue Efforts
A campaign group Everytown for Gun Safety has said that it has seen over $800,000 coming in donations unsolicited since the recent shooting.
Mark Barden, whose son Daniel had been killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut has been working with other affected Sandy Hook families to bring about a change in the reaction to the ‘red flags’, the warning signs that could indicate that a student might be a risk.
The organization set up by them Sandy Hook Promise has been sharing its “Know the Signs” training programs with schools across the country for free.
Legislation has been introduced by Republicans and Democrats that would allot federal funds to support and expand the program.