Jennifer Shutt, Maine Morning Star
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Lewiston, Maine on Friday in the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting there in late October.
“The President and First Lady will pay respects to the victims of this horrific attack and grieve with families and community members, as well as meet with first responders, nurses, and others on the front lines of the response,” the White House said in a statement.
The White House, which announced the visit on Wednesday night, said it would provide additional details later.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre last week called on lawmakers to enact stronger gun laws following the murders, saying during a briefing that much more than executive action is needed.
“We’re going to do everything that we can from here, but really the answer is Congress has to act,” Jean-Pierre said. “They have to take action.”
Lewiston entered the national spotlight last week after a man killed 18 people ranging in age from 14 to 76 years old. An additional 13 people were injured during the attacks at Just-In-Time Recreation and Schemengees Bar and Grille.
The area surrounding Lewiston was put under a shelter-in-place order as local, state and federal police officers searched for the suspect.
The 40-year-old man police say carried out the attack was later found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In a statement, Maine Gov. Janet Mills said, “By visiting us in our time of need, the President and First Lady are making clear that the entire nation stands with Lewiston and with Maine — and for that I am profoundly grateful.”
Mills said Wednesday she planned to create an independent commission to determine what took place in the months leading up to the shooting and in the days afterward.
She said the commission would include “independent experts with legal, investigative, and mental health backgrounds who can bring to bear their experiences in determining and laying out the full and impartial facts.”
Members of the shooter’s family raised concerns about his mental health about six months before the shooting, contacting the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s office to let them know he had access to firearms.
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