President Obama on Sunday condemned the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 50 people dead and 53 more wounded, stating that Americans "will not give in to fear."
"This is a sober reminder that attacks on any American--regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation -- is an attack on all of us," he said in a statement at the White House Sunday afternoon.
Still, he said: "No act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans."
Mr. Obama said that while the investigation is still underway, it is clear the shooting was an "act of terror and an act of hate."
"We are still learning all the facts: this is an open investigation," he added. "We've reached no definitive judgment on the motivations of the killer."
Shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, shooter Omar Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and opened fire, killing dozens and taking some club-goers hostage. CBS News has confirmed that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call.
The president specifically noted that it is a "heartbreaking day" for the LGBT community. "The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, to live," he said. "It is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds and to advocate for their civil rights."
Mr. Obama noted that the shooter was carrying an AR-15-style assault rifle, and that the tragedy is a "further reminder of how easy it is" for shooters to access guns in this country.
"We have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be -- and to actively do nothing is a decision as well," he said.
He closed by saying the American people need to ensure that in the face of tragedy, the country is "defined" more by the lives and values of the people who were killed than by the hatred of the killer himself.
"Say a prayer for them and say a prayer for their families, that God will give them the strength to bear the unbearable--and that he gives us all the strength to be there for him and the strength and courage to change," he said.
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