July 23, 2012

President Obama visits shooting victims, families

The president meets with the families and tells them the whole country feels their pain.
AURORA - Barack Obama may have arrived in Colorado as the President, but he wanted to be much more as met with people shot in the Century 16 movie theater early Friday morning.

"I come to them not so much as President as I do as a father, as a husband," Obama said.

He met with shooting victims and victims' families at the University of Colorado Hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. He told them that as a man not as the President, he feels for those who were shot or lost loved ones while trying to simply watch a movie.

"My main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them," Obama said. "What will be remembered are the good people who are impacted by this tragedy."

President Obama says he shed tears and shared hugs with them, staying much longer at the hospital than the original plan.

Pierce O'Farrill was shot by an AR-15 rifle, shotgun, and handgun. He says meeting the President did lift his spirits.

"It's not every day you get to meet the President, so he was very kind and just took some time out of his day to come visit with us," O'Farrill said. "So, I appreciated that."

Mike White Jr. was shot multiple times. Yet, he was almost giddy sitting in his hospital bed meeting with Obama.

"I guess kind of in awe still, seeing President Obama right opposite of this table," White said. 

Obama met with reporters outside the hospital and wanted to relay a story of one of the patients that he met, 19-year-old Ali Young. Young was in the front row when the gunman started the attack.

"Ali stood up saying that she might need to do something or at least warn the other people who where and she was immediately shot," Obama said. "Immediately, she started spurting blood."

Young's friend Stephanie then sprang into action, saving her life, according to Obama.

"Stephanie, 21 years old, had the presence of mind to drop down on the ground with her friend, pull her out of the aisle, place her fingers over where Ali had been wounded and applied pressure the entire time while the gunman was still shooting," said Obama while demonstrating Stephanie's actions. "And, because of Stephanie's timely actions, I just had a conversation with Ali downstairs."

Obama says it's those types of stories that people should hear about, stories about bravery and heroism.

He says he felt obliged to put politics aside, to support victims as a man, not just as President.

"Out of this darkness, a brighter say is gonna come," Obama said.

Both President Obama and hi Republican counterpart, Mitt Romney, suspended their campaign ads in Colorado out of respect for the shooting victims.

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