Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a vigil Wednesday evening in South Texas for the victims of the Sutherland Springs church shooting.[[456210583,R]]
About 3,000 people attended the vigil at the high school football stadium in Floresville, the Wilson County seat located about 12 miles southwest of Sutherland Springs.
"Tonight, I know the hearts and prayers of every American are in Sutherland Springs," Pence said.
Pence, joined by second lady Karen Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott, met with families of the victims at the Floresville High School library prior to the vigil, where Sessions told the families that "the country's grieving."
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Pence spoke to John Holcombe, whose parents, wife, three of her children, a brother and a niece died Sunday. Holcombe and his wife's 7-year-old daughter, Evelyn, managed to run out of the church. Holcombe was treated for shrapnel injuries and released from the hospital Monday.
Pence began his trip to Texas Wednesday by visiting Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to meet with victims wounded in the shooting. Then he, his wife and Texas officials met with victims' families, first responders and two men who pursued the gunman.
A spokeswoman at Brooke Army Medical Center said seven shooting victims remained at the hospital Wednesday, ranging from fair to critical condition.
Officials with University Health System in San Antonio still had four patients Wednesday, listed with conditions ranging from good to critical.
Pence then made a stop in Sutherland Springs to get a briefing from law enforcement, and he spoke during a brief press conference outside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, where the shootings happened.
The vice president blamed the Air Force bureaucracy in addition to the gunman for the church massacre. He said the gunman lied on his background check application when buying the weapons. He also cited the man's history of mental illness and bureaucratic failings within the Air Force for the tragedy.
Pence said President Donald Trump had authorized a full complement of federal resources to the investigation, including 100 on-site FBI agents.
Prior to Pence's arrival in Floresville, police said nobody was hurt after a report of shots fired near a nursing home across town from the vigil site.
The Wilson County sheriff's office told NBC 5 at about 5 p.m. that the situation was over, and there were no safety concerns for the vigil.