President Barack Obama called for a day of "prayer and reflection" after a mass shooting during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" killed 12 people and injured 38.
Speaking at what was intended to be a campaign event in Fort Myers, Fla., the president said that his administration would do whatever was necessary to bring the guilty party to justice. He also told the audience that this was a moment to overcome ideological divisions and come together as a country.
"This morning we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways we are united as one American family," President Obama said, vowing to stand by the people of Colorado, where the shooting occurred.
He added, "What matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it's not the trivial things which so often consume us... ultimately it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another."
The president reminded the audience that he had two daughters who like to go to the movies and said he would "hug them a little tighter tonight." He said the victims “loved and were loved" and "had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled."
He also said it was difficult to grasp what would lead someone to commit an act of violence on this scale.
"Even as we learn how this happened and who is responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this," President Obama said.
The president has canceled all campaign events and will fly back to the White House, according to a pool report. Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have also canceled campaign appearances.