Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Texas Wednesday to speak with law enforcement officials and visit those impacted by Sunday’s mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs.
Speaking at a community gathering at Floresville High School, Pence told the community that Americans continue to pray for them in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting at a church in modern U.S. history.
"We stand strong," Pence said. "We do this because this is what Americans do. We come together as one nation, and one people, to support our fellow Americans in need."
Pence’s visit to Texas comes days after former Air Force Airman Devin Kelley opened fire on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and wounding 20 others.
"I know the cherished names of the fallen will live on forever in the hearts of those who knew them, but their names will also be enshrined in the hearts of every American, forever," Pence added of the victims, the youngest of whom was 18 months old.
The vice president said President Trump requested Pence visit the community to show that the administration, along with the American people, are with Texas.
“We will never leave your side,” Pence said earlier, at a prayer gathering at First Baptist Church. “Every American has been inspired by the heroes of Sutherland Springs.”
Pence noted his earlier visit with recovering victims at the Brooke Army Medical Center. He added that he, along with second lady Karen Pence, “were deeply moved by their faith, their resilience.”
Briefly breaking from his condolences, Pence said that within days, the Air Force will complete their investigation into why Kelley’s domestic violence conviction was not submitted to a database used to conduct background checks on gun buyers.
He reassured the crowd that the Department of Defense is also conducting a review to ensure the database at the National Information Crime Center has information from every branch of the Armed Forces.
A somber Pence said that “no attack, no violence will ever diminish the faith of the American people,” and told those gathered that “faith is stronger than evil, and the faith of this community is inspiring the nation.”
Before introducing Karen Pence to lead the crowd in prayer, Pence said he hoped that Americans of all backgrounds and belief systems will send a "chorus of prayers" to the Sutherland Springs community -- to pray for those both lost and left behind.
Reports earlier in the day of an active shooter in Floresville, where Pence spoke late Wednesday, turned out to be false alarms.