Florida shooting: Donald Trump meets with victims and first responders as Parkland community calls for change

The president praises "record-breaking" reaction time of first responders

Emily Shugerman
New York
Saturday 17 February 2018 03:18 GMT
US President Donald Trump speaks with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel while visiting first responders at Broward County Sheriff's Office
US President Donald Trump speaks with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel while visiting first responders at Broward County Sheriff's Office (AFP/Getty)

President Donald Trump visited the Florida town devastated by a school shooting this week, as members of the community called on him to take action to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Mr Trump first visited Broward Health North hospital, where eight victims were taken after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students and staff members were killed in the massacre in total, and 14 more were injured.

Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, visited several of the victims at the hospital, and later met with trauma surgeon Igor Nichiporenko. According to pool reports, the president praised the “record-setting” reaction time of first responders, calling it “incredible”.

Mr Trump would later tell police officers and reporters about a female victim he met, who had been shot four times. He would also praise the victim’s families, saying they were “really great shape” given the circumstances. He would not respond to questions about changing the nation’s gun laws.

Mr and Ms Trump also met with members of the local police and sheriff’s departments Friday night, at a meeting attended by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Rick Scott, and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

At the meeting, Mr Trump shook hands with Officer Mike Leonard of the Coconut Creek Police Department, who told the president he had been the one to apprehend the alleged shooter.

“That was so modest, I would have told it much differently,” Mr Trump joked. “I would have said without me, they never would have found him.”

Mr Rubio also spoke at the meeting, saying the community was in great pain, and that residents "want action to make sure this doesn’t happen again”.

“You can count on it,” Mr Trump replied.

Florida teacher speaks on gun control: 'our founding fathers didn't have this in mind'

Mr Rubio’s comments echoed those of many in the Parkland community this week, who took to airwaves and social media to ask Mr Trump to do something about the staggering number of mass shootings in America.

"President Trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands," Lori Alhadeff, the mother of a 14-year-old victim, said in an emotional interview on CNN. "What can you do? You can do a lot! This is not fair to our families and our children [to] go to school and have to get killed!"

One student even tweeted at the president about his national address on the incident, in which he did not mention guns or gun control once. She later apologised for the profanity used in her initial tweet, but said she would love to meet up with him and talk gun control when he was in town.

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