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November 5, 2009

Obama calls Fort Hood shooting 'horrific'

USA Today

WASHINGTON — President Obama said today his prayers are with the victims of the Fort Hood shootings, as he paid tribute to all of those who risk their lives to serve their country.

"It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas," the president said. "It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil."

He called it "a horrific outburst of violence" and said his administration will work for "answers to every single question." Obama said he has spoken with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other Pentagon officials, and that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are involved in the investigation.

"We are going to stay on this," he said. " But I hope in the meantime that all of you recognize the scope of this tragedy and keep everybody in their thoughts and prayers."

Obama made his comments before making final remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference. He shortened his speech because of the shootings in order to return to the White House.

Obama's full remarks on the shootings:

I had planned to make some broader remarks about the challenges that lay ahead for Native Americans as well as collaboration with our administration.

But as some of you might have heard, there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. We don't yet know all the details at this moment. We will share them as we get them.

What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed, and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence.

My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen and with those who live and serve at Fort Hood.

These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis.

It's difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas.

It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.

I've spoken to Secretary Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and I will continue to receive a constant stream of updates as new information comes in.

We are working with the Pentagon, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, all to ensure that Fort Hood is secure and we will continue to support the community with the full resources of the federal government. In the meantime, I would ask all Americans to keep the men and women of Fort Hood in your thoughts and prayers. We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident, and I want all of you to know that as commander-in-chief, there's no greater honor, but also no greater responsibility for me than to make sure that the extraordinary men and women in uniform are properly cared for an that their safety and security when they are at home is provided for.

So we are going to stay on this, but I hope in the meantime that all of you recognize the scope of this tragedy and keep everybody in their thoughts and prayers. Again, thank you for your participation here today. I am confident that this is going to be resulting in terrific work between this government and your governments in the weeks, the months and years to come.

God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

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