Trump visits Las Vegas to grieve with city traumatized after mass shooting

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - President Donald Trump arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday to visit a city shaken by the deadliest shooting spree in modern U.S. history, a trip that will test his ability to console a shocked nation.

The president and first lady Melania Trump visited with Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo after landing, then departed for the local hospital, where they were slated to visit with victims and family members.

Trump's trip is the first time he has had to deal directly with the aftermath of a major mass shooting of the type that has killed hundreds of people in recent years in the United States.

"Well, it's a very sad thing. We’re going to pay our respects and to see the police who have done really a fantastic job in a very short time," Trump told reporters at the White House earlier on Wednesday. "It’s a very, very sad day for me, personally."

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree with no criminal record, was identified as the gunman in Sunday night's attack, spraying bullets at an open-air concert from the window of his suite in a high-rise hotel and killing 58 people.

Trump's motorcade passed the hotel from the freeway during the drive to the hospital.

Paddock killed himself as police closed in, and investigators have so far said they do not know what motivated him.

Trump said "a lot more" was being learned about Paddock. "That'll be announced at the appropriate time," he said. On Tuesday he called Paddock sick and demented.

RELATED: Heartbreaking scenes from Las Vegas shooting vigils and memorial services

46 PHOTOS
Heartbreaking scenes from Las Vegas shooting vigils and memorial services
See Gallery
Heartbreaking scenes from Las Vegas shooting vigils and memorial services
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: UNLV students reflect on words of wisdom dispersed during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People hand out candles at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: Singers/Songwriters Alison Krauss and The Cox Family perform during Nashville Candelight Vigil For Las Vegas at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People light candles at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
A woman mourns during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People mourn during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
People mourn after an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: Sophie Cass, 10, hands out candles at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: The Rev. Paul Goulet (L) and the Rev. David Shearin light candles during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1 leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A stack of #VegasStrong flyers are displayed during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1 leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: General view during Nashville Candelight Vigil For Las Vegas at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Dominic De Patta of Nevada holds a candle and a #VegasStrong flyer during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1, leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
People mourn after an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A girl attends an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Pastor William McCurdy (C) attends a prayer vigil, in honor of those affected by the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, in front of Las Vegas City Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
People mourn during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: UNLV students and their families gather during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: A UNLV student reflects on the message given during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: The Rev. David Shearin (L) and the Rev. Mike Hatch hold candles as they pray during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1 leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather during a candlelight vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting at Ascend Amphitheater on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Jon Dimaya (C) of Nevada, a rapid response team nurse at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, and his sons Ethan Dimaya (L) and Gryffin Dimaya (R) hold signs during a prayer vigil outside Las Vegas City Hall in response to Sunday's mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A lone gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 1, leaving 59 dead and hundreds wounded. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 02: People gather at the Ascend Amphitheater for a vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 2, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. At least 58 people were killed and 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday night. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
A man mourns during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Alexander Wells, 9, attends a prayer vigil, in honor of those affected by the shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, in front of Las Vegas City Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners light candles during a vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 2: UNLV students reflect on words of wisdom dispersed during a candle light vigil for the victims of the mass shootings that killed 59 people and injured more than 525, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A music group performs during a vigil at Guardian Angel Cathedral for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A woman touches a staue of the Blessed Mother Mary during a vigil at Guardian Angel Cathedral for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A vigil on the Las Vegas strip for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Aryanna Williams, 6, and Mickey Deustch, 8, of Las Vegas, Nevada attend a vigil on the Las Vegas strip for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival shootings on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lone gunman Stephan Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada opened fire on festival attendees leaving at least 59 dead and over 500 injured before killing himself. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 2: Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard for the victims of Sunday night's mass shooting, October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Late Sunday night, a lone gunman killed more than 50 people and injured more than 500 people after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A sign is pictured at a vigil on the Las Vegas strip following a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. Picture taken October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
A police officer writes a message on a sign at a vigil on the Las Vegas strip following a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 2, 2017. Picture taken October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Trump has had mixed success in the "consoler-in-chief" role that is periodically expected of U.S. presidents. He inflamed racial tensions after a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and he has struggled to strike the right tone in response to hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico.

Visiting Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Trump said jokingly that the recovery from Hurricane Maria on the island was blowing the U.S. budget "a little out of whack." During his time in the U.S. territory, he met more with people charged with responding to the crisis than with people affected by it.

The Las Vegas shooting has reignited a debate in the United States about whether more gun control legislation might have prevented what happened. Republicans who control the U.S. Congress have shown little inclination to respond to Democratic calls for gun measures.

Trump, a Republican who firmly aligned himself with gun rights advocates during last year's presidential campaign, was asked on Tuesday whether it was time to debate gun control measures. He responded, "Perhaps that will come. But that's not for now."

Trump held a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn after the Las Vegas attack and ordered flags lowered to half-staff. He has called the massacre "an act of pure evil."

In Las Vegas, the president will offer support for the wounded and thank first responders, the White House said.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances Kerry)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.