Vice President Mike Pence spoke about the strength of the small community at a vigil held on a football field near the church where an armed man killed 26 parishioners three days ago.
‘Three days ago, evil descended on this small town,’ he said while standing next to his wife on the football field of a local high school in the small Texas town. He was also joined by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Texas Governor Greg Abbot.
‘Karen and I have come to this place with a heavy heart. Faith is stronger than evil. I’m here as vice president to ensure that the full resources of the United States are brought to bear.
‘The American people are with you. We will never leave your side.’
After he spoke Pence gave hugs to members of the congregation, including the pastors and the two heroes who confronted Kelley in the church and chased him down the freeway.
Just before the vigil he spoke at a press conference in front of the in front of the First Baptist Church of Sunderland Springs, saying that the weight of blame lies on the gunman and on failed Air Force bureaucracy.
He said the gunman, David Kelley, lied on his background check application when buying the weapons, and cited Kelley’s mental illness and bureaucratic failings within the Air Force for the tragedy.
‘He lied on his application,’ Pence explained, regarding why Kelley was able to buy the gun in the first place.
‘He had a history of mental illness and there were bureaucratic failures. We will find out why this information was not properly reported in 2012 and we are working with leaders in congress to ensure this never happens again.’
Pence said President Donald Trump had authorized a full complement of federal resources to the investigation, including 100 on-site FBI agents.
He said the military branch will deliver results of the internal investigation quickly.
Pence spoke to John Holcombe, whose parents, wife, three of her children, a brother and a niece died Sunday. Holcombe and his wife’s seven-year-old daughter, Evelyn, managed to run out of the church. Holcombe was treated for shrapnel injuries and released from the hospital Monday.