Newly elected Speaker Johnson offers prayers for violence to end in response to Maine mass shooting

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Thursday, October 26, 2023
Speaker Johnson offers prayers in response to Maine shootings
On his first day on the job, House Speaker Mike Johnson offered prayers for those affected by the mass shooting in Maine that left at least 18 dead.

WASHINGTON -- On his first full day on the job, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., offered prayers during a statement to reporters on the mass shooting in Maine that left at least 18 dead and 13 hurt.

"This is a dark time in America," he said. "We have a lot of problems and we're really, really hopeful and prayerful. Prayer is appropriate in a time like this, that the evil can end and this senseless violence can stop."

TIMELINE: How the shootings in Maine unfolded

He also thanked law enforcement, noting, "We trust and hope and pray that they're able to apprehend this individual as quickly as possible [so] there's no more injury or loss of life."

Johnson, a staunchly conservative evangelical Christian, declined to take any questions, including about the possibility of any gun violence legislation from Congress.

According to ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott, Johnson has opposed several gun measures. He voted against raising the age to buy a semiautomatic weapon from 18 to 21 years old and also voted against the most recent bipartisan gun safety bill passed after the Uvalde and Buffalo mass shootings.

RELATED: A list of mass killings, active shooter incidents in the US since January

A sweeping dragnet effort is underway on the ground and in the air as law enforcement partners fan out in full force in their search for the suspected Lewiston, Maine gunman, Robert Card.

The family of mass shooting suspect is cooperating with authorities, law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the deadly mass shooting in Maine here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.