Sen. Bernie Sanders led a moment of silence on Saturday evening for the shooting in El Paso, Texas. At least 18 people were killed in a Walmart there on Saturday afternoon, and several states away in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sanders reserved a moment in their honor.
"I would appreciate if we could have a brief moment of silence," he said to the assembled crowd. "I think all of you are aware of another mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. As we understand it based on the latest information, 18 people were killed, others were wounded. So, if we could just take a brief moment to keep those families in mind, and pray for the recovery of those who were wounded."
With that, Sanders bowed his head for a long moment before carrying on with his campaign event. As he stated on Twitter, he was hoping to address "the economic crises facing Nevadans," adding: "the political revolution continues" at his events. However, Saturday's shooting cast a pall over his Q&A, as with much of the country on Saturday.
The latest update from authorities states that at least 18 people were killed in the mass shooting, and at least 21 were hospitalized, with nine in critical but stable condition at the time of this writing. In total, 40 people were injured as a white male in his 20s opened fire in the department store with an AK 47-style assault rifle, according to CBS News.
The tragedy happened at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, starting in the parking lot and then moving into the Walmart itself. Sergeant Robert Gomez told reporters that the suspect was taken into custody "without incident," and said that they did not believe there were other gunmen involved. They also shot down reports of a second shooting at another location.
The ATF and the FBI also responded to the scene in heavily armored vehicles with SWAT teams in full force, many dressed in the camouflage patterns of the armed forces. The authorities locked down the area and asked the public to stay away as the investigation continues.
Everyone in America, myself included, is devastated by the news of this latest attack in El Paso. Sadly, after each of these tragedies the Senate does nothing. That has got to change.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 3, 2019
This is reportedly the 249th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2019, and not even the first this week. The conversation on social media turned quickly to gun reform, with some of Sen. Sanders' opponents in the democratic primary election reiterating their plans to end the gun violence epidemic if they are elected.
Sanders himself "believes in a middle-ground solution in the national gun debate," as stated on his website. As president, he would attempt to revive the federal ban on assault weapons and add instant background checks to gun purchases. Beyond that, he would leave gun control legislation up to each state.