Updated 11:28 am ET
President Obama addressed the Colorado mass murder this morning during an event in Fort Myers, Florida and is now headed back to Washington to monitor the situation.
Obama canceled a scheduled campaign event outside Orlando.
“He wants to be back in Washington to get further updates on this, and I think you can expect that he will upon arrival,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign will pull its attack ads in Colorado for the time being, though the process may take some time, according to Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The Fort Myers event, which had also been scheduled to be a campaign appearance, was shortened and turned into a venue for a statement by Obama on the tragedy.
From the pool report:
President Obama spoke for about 6 minutes to a convention center full of supporters. There was an american flag and bunting, but no campaign signs with the now familiar “Forward” campaign slogan. There was no music and the mood was somber.
Obama said: “This morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that remind us we are always united as an American family.”
He said, “We may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings, such violence, such evil senselessness is beyond reason.”
But, he added, “We do know what makes life worth living. People in Aurora loved and were loved.”
“I’m sure many of you are parents who had the same reaction I did when we heard the news. My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater as so many kids do each day?”
He led a moment of silence five minutes into the speech.
Mitt Romney will also use what had been scheduled to be a campaign event in New Hampshire to talk about the shooting. His campaign is pulling its ads in Colorado.
Obama was briefed this morning a 5:26 am ET on the shootings by Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan.
Carney, who appeared to choke up during a briefing for reporters aboard Air Force One, indicated that the shootings do not appear to be related to terrorism.