Obama, Romney offer condolences after Wisconsin shooting

President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney on Sunday released separate statements offering condolences to the victims of a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the shooting that tragically took so many lives in Wisconsin,” Obama said, in a statement released by the White House. “At this difficult time, the people of Oak Creek must know that the American people have them in our thoughts and prayers, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were killed and wounded.”

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Romney said he and his wife Ann “extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims,” in a statement released by his campaign. The presumptive GOP nominee called the incident “a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship.”

Reports said at least 7 people, including the gunman, were killed after a man opened fire on worshipers at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

One police officer who responded to the call was said to have been shot and was seriously wounded. A second officer arrived on the scene, shooting and killing the lone suspect. Police say they do not have a motive for the incident, but are investigating it as an act of “domestic terrorism”

A White House pool report said the president had been informed about the shooting by his Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan shortly after 1 p.m. 

Later in the afternoon, Obama held a call with FBI Director Bob Mueller, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and Brennan, where he received updates on the shooting and the investigation. Obama was informed that the temple had been secured by law enforcement agents. 

The president “directed that the federal government assist as appropriate in the investigation into the shooting,” according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.

Following his briefing, Obama spoke with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi and a trustee of the Sikh temple, Charanjeet Singh to whom he expressed “his condolences for the lives lost and his concern for those who were injured.”

The White House said Obama "wanted to make sure that as we denounce this senseless act of violence we also underscore how much our country has been enriched by our Sikh Community, who are an integral part of our broader American family."  

The shooting comes a little over two weeks after a gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and wounding dozens.

That incident sparked a renewed debate about gun control, with some calling for tougher measures including banning assault rifles or high-capacity clips. 

Obama and Romney, however, both said they were focused on preventing gun crimes using laws already on the books.

This story was last updated at 8:24 p.m.


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