UPDATE (10:35 A.M.): Carney told reporters that Obama had phoned Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to get his read on the situation.
Carney was also asked about the president’s views on gun control in light of the shooting.
“I would say as you know the president believes we need to take common sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing laws do not get them…We’re making progress in that regard in terms of improving the volume and quality of information on background checks but I have nothing additional on that for you. This is obviously a recent event.”
Psaki then told reporters that the Obama campaign has decided to temporarily pull its attack ads against Romney that are scheduled to run in Colorado. Romney’s campaign has reportedly also decided to do the same.
UPDATE (10:25 A.M.): Mitt Romney announced that he, too, is canceling his campaign event today in Manchester, N.H..
UPDATE (10:20 A.M): The White House informed reporters that President Obama will comment on the shooting later this morning at 11:15 A.M.. Obama also canceled a pair of campaign events he had scheduled in Fort Myers, Fla. and in Winter Park, Fla., and will return to Washington instead.
Aboard Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney provided reporters with more details about how the president learned about the incident. The following information was included in a pool report:
“Carney said Obama, briefed by Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan at 5:26 a.m. ET, received another briefing en route to the airport from FBI Director Robert Mueller, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and Brennan. He said at approximately 12:30 a.m. MT, the suspect entered the theater and opened fire on people during premier of The Dark Knight Rises. The incident happened three blocks from local police headquarters and law enforcement response “was immediate.” Obama ordered his adminsiration to do “everything it can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time.”
Obama spoke with the mayor of Aurora. Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama have canceled their events today, Obama campaign spokesman Jen Psaki added.
Carney said Obama first wanted to be sure the incident was over and “no more people were in danger,” then he reacted as a parent, Carney said. Carney briefly appeared to choke up at this point.
Carney: “We do not believe at this point there was an apparent nexus to terrorism.”
– End updates –
WASHINGTON — President Obama and his GOP counterpart, Mitt Romney, released similarly-worded statements within minutes of each other Friday morning in response to an overnight shooting in Colorado that left 12 dead and nearly 60 others wounded.
According to local police, a shooter opened fire during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, in a packed theater located in suburban Aurora, Colorado. Authorities said they had a 24-year-old male suspect in custody. The suspect, they said, wore body armor, and is believed at this point to have acted alone. He was in possession of a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun at the time he was arrested. Officials said that he shot 71 movie-goers in total.
President Obama was notified of the shooting by his Homeland Security adviser, John Brennan, at 5:26 a.m. Friday morning. Obama, who spent the night in South Florida due to campaign events, released the following statement:
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.”
Fifteen minutes later, Romney released a statement of his own:
“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
Aurora police are expected to provide reporters with more details about the shooting later this morning. We will update this article accordingly when that happens.