The White House said Friday that it had no evidence of ties between the tragic mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and organized terrorism.
"This is a local law enforcement investigation at this point, and what we can say is that we do not believe at this point that there is an apparent nexus to terrorism," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
Obama, who was cutting short a campaign swing through Florida in response to the shooting, received his first briefing on the incident from homeland security adviser John Brennan at 5:26 a.m. A few hours later, he heard from FBI Director Robert Mueller, White House chief of staff Jack Lew, and Brennan.
"The president was told that, at approximately 12:30 a.m. Mountain time, or 2:30 a.m. Eastern time, a male suspect entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and opened fire on people watching the midnight premiere of the movie 'The Dark Knight Rises,'" said Carney.
The theater is about three blocks from a police station, according to Carney. The suspect, "a young male, possibly in his mid-20s, was taken into custody outside the theater," Carney said.
"The FBI and ATF are on scene, and are assisting the Aurora Police Department in this investigation. The president ordered that his administration do everything that it can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time," the spokesman said. "The president also made clear that we are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice and ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."
Obama also spoke to Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan.
Carney choked up as he described the president's response "as a parent."
"He mentioned to me how heavy his heart is, and the pain he understands parents and loved ones must be suffering," the spokesman said.