Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Texas Wednesday to speak with law enforcement officials and visit those impacted by Sunday’s mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs.
Speaking at Floresville High School at a prayer gathering, Pence told the community that Americans continue to pray for them in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting at a church in modern U.S. history.
“Three days ago, evil descended on this small town, this small church,” Pence said, noting he had just visited with recovering victims at the Brooke Army Medical Center. He added that he, along with second lady Karen Pence, “were deeply moved by their faith, their resilience.”
Pence’s visit comes days after former Air Force Airman Devin Kelley opened fire on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and wounding 20.
The vice president said President Trump requested Pence visit the community to show that the administration, along with the American people, are with Texas.
Vice President Mike Pence, center, stands with officials, first responders and victims as he talks with the media outside the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
“We will never leave your side,” Pence said, pointing out how “humbling” it was for him to be standing in the heartbroken town. “Every American has been inspired by the heroes of Sutherland Springs.”
Briefly breaking from his condolences, Pence said that within days, the Air Force will complete their investigation into how Kelley’s domestic violence conviction was not submitted to a database used to conduct background checks on gun buyers.
He reassured the crowd that the Department of Defense is also conducting a review to ensure the database at the National Information Crime Center has information from every branch of the Armed Forces.
Reports earlier in the day of an active shooter in Floresville, where the community gathering took place, turned out to be false alarms.
Pence, who was visibly emotional during his speech, said that “No attack, no violence will ever diminish the faith of the American people,” and told those gathered that “faith is stronger than evil, and the faith of this community is inspiring the nation.”
Pence is scheduled to also speak at the First Baptist Church later Wednesday night.