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South Dakotans offer support for Las Vegas shooting victims

Several area officials and agencies took to social media Monday to voice sympathy and solidarity following the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.

U.S. Senator John Thune (R), right, delivers remarks while U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R), center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R) follow Thune's remarks during a panel called "Check-in From Washington, DC" during Dakotafest on Wednesday morning east of Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)
U.S. Sen. John Thune, right, delivers remarks while U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem listen during an event at Dakotafest near Mitchell in 2016. (Matt Gade/Republic)

Several area officials and agencies took to social media Monday to voice sympathy and solidarity following the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.

But U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, of South Dakota, said it's not yet time to examine national gun control laws.

Gunfire erupted at 10:08 p.m. local time Sunday, during the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas strip, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 400 more. The shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was found dead with at least 10 rifles, including an automatic weapon, according to local authorities.

Thune and fellow U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds took to Twitter on Monday morning, calling the violence "senseless" and "horrible." U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem also shared condolences for the victims, and thanked first responders.

But as many U.S. citizens voiced concern and outrage Monday about what they consider lax gun control laws, Noem said it is not time to air political concerns, but rather to comfort victims.

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A spokesperson for the congresswoman said, "... the investigation is still open and ongoing. In light of that, Rep. Noem's focus is on supporting the victims, their families, the medical community and law enforcement in these critical first few hours."

Later in the day, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard ordered flags at half-staff in honor of the victims and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley urged people to "please keep (victims and their families) in your thoughts and prayers."

Gunfire lasted several minutes, coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, a quarter-mile away.

The bloodshed caused by the "lone wolf" shooter prompted a speech from President Donald Trump, who called it "an act of pure evil."

"Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence," the president said. "We call upon the bonds that unite us: our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity."

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