Paul Ryan Calls for Moment of Silence at Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called for a moment of silence during Wednesday night's Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, following a mass shooting in San Bernardino in which at least 14 people were killed and 17 others were wounded.

"Before we begin, I just want to say that we are all thinking about the current and ongoing tragedy in California today," Ryan said before lowering his head. "And I would like to have a brief moment of silence now for those who are affected."

Wednesday morning, gunfire erupted during a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, which serves people with developmental disabilities, police said. Hundreds of people were inside at the time.

Two suspects armed with assault rifles and handguns were killed in a standoff with police Wednesday afternoon, and a third person was detained after running away from officers during the shootout, authorities said. 

"Please keep the victims and their families in your prayers right now," Ryan said outside the Capitol, before the tree lighting ceremony began.

The tree, a 74-foot spruce, traveled 4,000 miles from Alaska's Chugach National Forest and arrived in Washington on Nov. 20. The tree is decorated with thousands of ornaments created by children from the state.

It's the first Capitol Christmas Tree to come from Alaska.

The tree will now be illuminated nightly between dusk and 11 p.m. through New Years Day.

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