Responding to the shooting deaths Monday at the Washington Navy Yard, President Obama said he would do everything in his power to prevent "yet another mass shooting" in the U.S.
"We're going to be investigating thoroughly what happened, as we do so many of these shootings, sadly," Mr. Obama said, "and do everything that we can to try to prevent them."
The president didn't mention gun control in his brief remarks at the White House before turning to negotiations over Syria's chemical weapons and the five-year anniversary of the Wall Street collapse. But he referred to the tragedy in the same context as the Sandy Hook school massacre in December that prompted him to push an unsuccessful effort in Congress to expand background checks on gun purchases.
"We are confronting yet another mass shooting and today it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital," Mr. Obama said. "It's a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel. These are men and women who were going to work, doing their job protecting all of us. They're patriots and they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn't have expected here at home."
At least four people were killed and eight others wounded in the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning. Police said one suspect is dead, and they are investigating unconfirmed reports that two other gunmen may have been involved.
The president acknowledged that authorities still don't have all the facts about the shootings, and he pledged a thorough investigation.
"I've made it clear to my team that I want the investigation to be seamless so that federal and local authorities are working together," the president said. "And as this investigation moves forward, we will do everything in our power to make sure that whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."
The government's response to the shooting, and the media coverage of it, forced the president to delay his scheduled address about the economy for about an hour. He asked Americans to keep the victims in their thoughts.
"We send our thoughts and prayers to all at the Navy Yard who've been touched by this tragedy," Mr. Obama said. "We thank them for their service, we stand with the families of those who've been harmed. They're going to need our love and support. And as we learn about the courageous Americans who died today, their lives, their families, their patriotism, we will honor their service to the nation they helped to make great."
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