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‘We just hugged them’: Trump meets victims of Thousand Oaks shooting during California wildfire tour

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‘We just hugged them’: Trump meets victims of Thousand Oaks shooting during California wildfire tour


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President Donald Trump arrives in California to tour the devastation caused from the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century (Nov. 17)
AP

POINT MUGU NAVAL AIR STATION, Calif. — After President Donald Trump’s daylong tour of devastation from wildfires across California, he met with those affected by the Thousand Oaks mass shooting, which left 12 dead earlier this month.

“We just hugged them and we kissed them — and everybody. And it was very warm,” the president said after meeting privately with family members and first responders to the attack.

“It was tragic, and yet in one way it was a very beautiful moment,” Trump said. 

He said he met with the “parents of a very young supporter, a young supporter wearing a Trump shirt, and just a terrific young man.”

► Nov. 17: ‘It’s like total devastation’: Trump visits Paradise lost in California fire 
► Nov. 17: Trump: Report on Jamal Khashoggi killing coming next week
► Nov. 15: Fallen California Sgt. Ron Helus remembered for bravery, service, faith

A gunman opened fire Nov. 7 in the Borderline Bar & Grill, about 40 miles west of Los Angeles, during a crowded College Night. Among those killed was an officer who rushed to the scene and tried to stop the massacre.

As the community attempted to cope with the loss, a wildfire the next day caused many in the town to evacuate. The Woolsey Fire has killed three people and destroyed more than 1,000 structures in the area, dispensing back-to-back punches in the grief-stricken community.

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Nov. 8 also is the day that the Camp Fire in Northern California erupted.

Trump said his tour of the devastation from the fires mixed with meeting those affected by the shooting was hard. 

“This has been a tough day when you look at all of the death from one place to the next,” the president said. “What can you say other than it’s so sad to see? These are great people. Great families, torn apart.”

The gunman behind the massacre, Ian David Long, 28, wore a hood, bandanna and black clothing as he indiscriminately fired into the crowd. The Marine combat veteran posted to social media during his massacre, saying, “It’s too bad I won’t get to see all the illogical and pathetic reasons people will put in my mouth as to why I did it,” he wrote on Instagram, according to ABC News and Buzzfeed. 

“Fact is I had no reason to do it, and I just thought … (expletive), life is boring so why not?” Long wrote. Long killed himself as police closed in. 

► Nov. 13: Company decides to buy firearms for every employee for Christmas
► Nov. 11: LeBron James speaks out about gun violence after Thousand Oaks

Earlier Saturday, Trump visited the community of Paradise, the hardest hit in Northern California’s Camp Fire. The blaze has left at least 76 dead and more than 1,000 still unaccounted for. 

It is the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century. 

The president surveyed the damage, walking by burned-out cars and the remains of houses.  

► Nov. 9: Thousand Oaks residents deal with mass shooting, horrific fire
► Nov. 8: Strict California gun laws couldn’t stop Thousand Oaks shooting

At one point, the presidential motorcade pulled into a mobile home and RV park, stopping in front of an American flag hanging from what was left of a burned structure. 

“Right now we want to take care of the people who have been so badly hurt,” the president said.

Trump added, “This is very sad to see. As far as the lives are concerned, nobody knows quite yet.” 

Christal Hayes reported from Washington. Follow Hayes and John Fritze on Twitter: @Journo_Christal and @jfritze



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These were the stories, the lives and the dreams of the 12 victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California.
USA TODAY

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/11/17/trump-thousand-oaks-shooting-victims-california-wildfire/2041198002/

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