Vice President Mike Pence said that the Trump administration is committed to ending “the scourge of mass shootings” after a shooting took place at a Southern California high school killing two students.
A student opened fire on Thursday at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, around 7:30 a.m. Authorities said two students were killed—a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old male. Their names have not been released. The 16-year-old student suspect then shot himself in the head and is in grave condition. Local U.S. media have identified the shooter as Nathaniel Berhow, citing police sources and neighbours. It was his birthday.
Speaking to a group at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, Pence took a moment before addressing the audience to offer condolences to the victims of the high school shooting.
“In this nation, we mourn with those who mourn and we grieve with those who grieve. And to the families of those who lost loved ones, and to those who were critically injured, on behalf of the American people, I say from my heart: The hearts of every American are with you today,” Pence said. “Our prayers are with you. And our prayers are with all the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff that are treating your loved ones at this very hour.
“I spoke to President Trump not long ago, and he asked me to convey his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and the entire Santa Clarita community,” Pence continued.
“I also spoke to L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, and I informed him that President Trump has directed the full resources of the federal government to support local law enforcement efforts as the investigation goes forward. And our teams are already on the ground.
“And let me say, on behalf of the President, we commend the swift response of local law enforcement and school officials. They undoubtedly saved lives.”
Pence also assured that the Trump administration is committed to ending mass shootings.
“[T]o every American, and all of you gathered here, we say: This President and this administration will remain resolved to bring the scourge of mass shootings to an end,” he said. “And we will not rest or relent until we end this evil in our time and make our schools and our communities safe again.”
A day prior to the shooting, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a five-point plan dubbed Project Guardian, aimed at reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearms laws in the country.
The plan focuses specifically on investigating, prosecuting, and preventing gun crimes.
“Gun crime remains a pervasive problem in too many communities across America. Today, the Department of Justice is redoubling its commitment to tackling this issue through the launch of Project Guardian,” Barr said in a statement.
“Building on the success of past programs like Triggerlock, Project Guardian will strengthen our efforts to reduce gun violence by allowing the federal government and our state and local partners to better target offenders who use guns in crimes and those who try to buy guns illegally.”
Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.