Republicans took to Twitter Wednesday to express their condolences for the Florida high school shooting that killed 17 people, with President Donald Trump posting that “no child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan called the shooting — at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. — “an unspeakable tragedy.
“It is nothing short of true evil to attack innocent children,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement.
“While we now wait to learn more, we are so grateful to law enforcement and all those who brought this horror to an end.
“Let us all keep the victims in our hearts. A long night lies ahead for many families.
“Right now, the whole country is standing with the Parkland community,” Ryan said.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that the attack “was designed and executed to maximize loss of life.”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that the shots rang out at Marjory Stoneman in Parkland, Fla., with about 3,000 students, around 2:30 p.m.
He identified the suspect as Nikolas Cruz, 19, who was expelled last year, telling reporters that he had used an AR-15 assault-style rifle and possessed multiple magazines.
Cruz was arrested in a nearby city by local police without incident, Israel said.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN that FBI officials told him that Cruz also wore a gas mask and carried several smoke grenades.
Investigators also told Nelson that Cruz pulled the school’s fire alarm himself to begin the assault.
In addition, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called on Americans to pray for those affected by the Parkland shooting.
“Let every American stop what he or she is doing, and call out to God on behalf of all America’s students, that God would spare our nation of ever again having to mourn such a senseless loss of life at our children’s schools,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Paula White, senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla., also posted on Twitter.