Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Las Vegas, Nevada
12:54 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Governor. And we really appreciate that. And I will tell you, the people of Nevada and the extraordinary city have shown the world their incredible character, courage, and resolve. Nevada really is a very, very special place.
I’m honored to be here today at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in the company of heroes. Thank you to our police, our firefighters, and to our first responders, and of course to Sheriff Lombardo. Incredible job you’ve done.
Mayor Goodman — hello, Mayor Goodman. Senator Heller, thank you very much. Senator Cortez Masto. Majority Leader. Where is Kevin — Majority Leader? Kevin McCarthy. Adam Laxalt. All of the great congressmen that we have with us today from both parties, we just are very honored that you could be with us.
And on behalf of a grateful nation, Melania and I thank each and every one of you in law enforcement. In the depths of horror, we will always find hope in the men and women who risk their lives for ours. The mass murder that took place on Sunday night fills America’s heart with grief. America is truly a nation in mourning.
I visited the hospital earlier today where many victims are still recovering from their wounds, and we ask God to ease their suffering and to speed their healing. We pray for the recovery of the injured and those injured officers who so bravely threw themselves into danger when duty called. And we grieve the loss of the law enforcement personnel who were killed in this vicious attack.
Many families tonight will go to bed in a world that is suddenly empty. The people they so dearly love were torn away from them forever.
Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter. We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain. You’re not alone. We will never leave your side.
Here at the police department, we remember one of our own who died this week, Charles Hartfield. He was a very, very special person. Officer Hartfield was a proud veteran, a devoted husband, a loving father. His death is a tragic loss for this police force, for this city, and for our great nation.
We struggle for the words to explain to our children how such evil can exist, how there can be such cruelty and such suffering. But we cannot be defined by the evil that threatens us, or the violence that incites such terror.
We’re defined by our love, our caring, and our courage. In the darkest moments, what shines most brightly is the goodness that thrives in the hearts of our people. That goodness is our lighthouse. And our solace is knowledge that the souls of those who passed are now at peace in Heaven.
Here on Earth, we are blessed to be surrounded by heroes. As one eyewitness recounted this week: “While everyone else was crouching, police officers were standing up as targets, just trying to direct people and tell them where to go.” The officers were standing up in the line of fire to help those in danger and to find out where those horrible shots were coming from.
Words cannot describe the bravery that the whole world witnessed on Sunday night. Americans defied death and hatred with love and with courage. When the word — and the worst of humanity strikes — and strike it did — the best of humanity responds.
Parents and spouses used their own bodies as shields to protect their loved ones. Americans dashed into a hail of bullets to rescue total strangers.
Joining us today are many of the heroes who were here during that horrible moment, that horrible night, including Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers Tyler Peterson and Tana Gurule, and civilian Aaron Stalker.
Officer Peterson was on his second day on the job when the shooting began. I just visited with him in the hospital. Within minutes, he joined a group of officers rushing between flying bullets to clear the fairground and save lives.
Officer Gurule was off-duty attending the concert. Although she was unarmed, as soon as the shooting began, she threw on a yellow police vest and began evacuating victims.
And Aaron Stalker, a veteran, rushed to the scene to search for his loved ones, but when he couldn’t find them, he began helping every person he could. As he recounts: “We used the plastic barriers as gurneys to carry the injured to transportation. I made splints out of whatever I could find and used anything to stop the horrible bleeding.”
Among the wounded was the mother of Aaron’s girlfriend. She is still in the hospital, and we are all pulling for her.
To every hero we [who] helped — every hero saved so many lives. And believe me, a grateful nation thanks you. The example of those whose final act was to sacrifice themselves for those they loved should inspire all of us to show more love every day for the people who grace our lives.
In the months ahead, we will all have to wrestle with the horror of what has unfolded this week, but we will struggle through it together. We will endure the pain together. And we will overcome together as Americans.
May God bless and watch over those who protect us. May God bring healing to the families of the wounded, the injured, and the fallen. And may God bless our great country, America. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you, Governor. Thank you very much.
1:02 P.M. PDT