The Latest: Pence says nation prays for victims, families

The Latest on President Donald Trump's response to the Florida school shooting (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says the mass shooting at a Florida school is "every parent's nightmare" and says the nation is praying for the victims and their families.

Pence is addressing the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school during a stop in San Antonio, Texas. The vice president says "the heartache in Broward County is unimaginable" but it's a heartache that many Texans know from the deadly shooting last year at a church in Sutherland Springs.

The vice president says, "then as now, our hearts were broken. Then as now, heroes were forged."

Pence is traveling in Texas for fundraising and to inspect the U.S.-Mexican border as lawmakers debate immigration proposals.


10:01 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he leaves for Florida Friday to "meet with some of the bravest people."

Trump's tweet did not elaborate on his plans. But White House officials are working to arrange a visit to Florida in the wake of this week's deadly school shooting.

Trump writes that he'll meet with "people whose lives have been totally shattered." At least 17 died when a former student opened fire at the school in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday.

The president also says he's "working with Congress on many fronts." But Trump has not addressed the idea of new gun control measures. He has focused on treatment of mental illness.

Trump was already set to leave Friday for a weekend at his Palm Beach resort.


12:47 a.m.

Declaring the nation united and grieving with "one heavy heart," President Donald Trump is promising to tackle school safety and "the difficult issue of mental health" in response to the deadly shooting in Florida. He made no mention of the scourge of gun violence.

Not always a natural in the role of national comforter, Trump spoke deliberately Thursday, at one point directly addressing children who may feel "lost, alone, confused or even scared."

"I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be," Trump said. "You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you."