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President Donald Trump honored Dayton, Ohio police officers and Texas civilians who respectively responded to two mass shootings last month, during an event Monday at the White House.
“One month ago, America witnessed horror beyond belief. On Saturday, August 3rd, at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the soulless and bigoted monster killed 22 innocent people and wounded 27 others. It happened very quickly. It was a racist attack motivated by pure evil hatred,” Trump said.
As President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Valor to six Dayton police officers in a White House ceremony, Democrats including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley called for Trump and Republicans who control the U.S. Senate to pass background check legislation.
“We need to do something now,” said Brown, who argued that passage of legislation requiring background checks for all gun purchases would be the most effective way to honor the heroism of police whose swift action last month in stopping shooter Connor Betts saved dozens of lives.
The president also awarded certificates of commendation to five people from El Paso who risked their lives to help others during a separate mass shooting at a Walmart store there a day earlier.
Together, Mr. Trump said, the recipients “responded to the worst violence and most barbaric hatred with the best of American courage, character and strength.
The massacre in Dayton began in the early hours of Aug. 4, when a gunman carrying a rifle and dressed in body armor started shooting. Police said the assailant, identified as Connor Betts, 24, shot more than 2 dozen people in about 30 seconds.
Mr. Betts was shot and killed by an officer’s bullet, quickly ending his rampage. The city’s police chief called the police response “crucial,” “immediate” and “effective.”
The president said the quick response by the officers prevented the gunman from killing even more people as he stood in front of Ned Peppers, a bar in the city’s downtown.
“These six officers ended the violent rampage and saved countless lives,” he said.