US

Trump Condemns Mass Murders in Ohio and Texas, Orders Flags to Be Flown Half-Staff

By Bowen Xiao

President Donald Trump condemned the two shootings that took place over the weekend in an Aug. 4 proclamation that honored the victims in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, as he ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff at the White House and all other public buildings.

“We condemn these hateful and cowardly acts,” Trump said in the proclamation. “Through our grief, America stands united with the people of El Paso and Dayton. May God be with the victims of these two horrific crimes and bring aid and comfort to their families and friends.”

“Our Nation mourns with those whose loved ones were murdered in the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and we share in the pain and suffering of all those who were injured in these two senseless attacks,” he said.

A man geared up with body armor fired into a downtown district in Dayton on Aug. 4 around 1 a.m. killing nine and wounding dozens more. It was the second mass shooting in less than a day after 20 were killed earlier in El Paso.

The assailant was shot dead by nearby patrolling police officers within a minute. Law enforcement and Dayton’s mayor, Nan Whaley, said the quick takedown most likely prevented a much higher death toll. Authorities later identified the alleged shooter as 24-year-old Connor Betts from Bellbrook, Ohio.

Whaley said that if the police had not responded so quickly, “hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today.” The assailant was carrying extra magazines on him as he opened fire.

Trump noted on Aug. 4 that the FBI would be assigned to Ohio. Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves said Trump has been briefed on the Ohio incident and is monitoring the situation.

“The FBI, local and state law enforcement are working together in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio,” Trump said on Twitter. “Information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton. Much has already be learned in El Paso. Law enforcement was very rapid in both instances. Updates will be given throughout the day!”

“God bless the people of El Paso Texas,” he said in another post. “God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.”

Assistant Police Chief Matt Carper told reporters the incident began at 1 a.m. local time in Dayton’s Oregon District. Lt. Col. Matt Carper described the area as “a safe part of downtown,” home to entertainment including bars, restaurants, and theaters.

The attacker, Whaley said, was carrying a .223-caliber rifle. Authorities said they believe there was only one attacker in the incident. The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.

In area hospitals at least 26 other people were being treated for their injuries. No other details about their conditions have been released yet.

Miami Valley Hospital spokeswoman Terrea Little said the hospital had received 16 victims, but she couldn’t confirm their conditions. Kettering Health Network spokeswoman Elizabeth Long said multiple victims from a shooting had been brought to system hospitals, but she didn’t have details on how many.

“I’m heartbroken,” Whaley said on Twitter. “Thank you to our first responders for all that you’ve done. We will share updates as we have more information.”

Nikita Papillon, 23, was across the street at Newcom’s Tavern when the shooting started. She said she saw a girl she had talked to earlier lying outside Ned Peppers Bar.

“She had told me she liked my outfit and thought I was cute, and I told her I liked her outfit and I thought she was cute,” Papillon told The Associated Press. “She herself had been to Ned Peppers the night before, describing it as the kind of place “where you don’t have to worry about someone shooting up the place.”

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine issued a statement before 7 a.m., announcing that he’s ordered flags in Ohio to be flown at half-staff and offered assistance to Whaley.

The Ohio shooting came about 13 hours after a 21-year-old Dallas-area man named Patrick Crusius opened fire into an El Paso shopping center. Crusius is in custody.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and El Paso police say 20 people were killed and 26 others wounded on Aug. 3. One police official said he believed most of the victims in the attack were shot at a Walmart located near the Cielo Vista Mall.

U.S. Attorney John Bash said they are treating the El Paso shooting “as a domestic terrorism case.”

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report 

From The Epoch Times