President Trump: ‘The nation prays with ‘heavy heart”

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says Wednesday's mass shooting turned a Florida school into a "scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil."

Trump addressed  the nation a day after the shooting that killed at least 17 people. The president was silent on the issue of gun control. Earlier Thursday, he suggested the suspect was "mentally disturbed."

Trump says the entire nation "with one heavy heart" is praying for the victims and their families.

An orphaned 19-year-old with a troubled past and his own AR-15 rifle was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning following the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in five years.

President Trump says he will  visit Parkland, Florida and is planning to meet with families and local officials, and to continue coordinating the federal response.

Trump called on Americans to "answer hate with love, answer cruelty with kindness."  He tweeted early Thursday that the suspect appeared to be "mentally disturbed," but he has not mentioned guns.

Trump said, "To law enforcement, first responders, and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger, we thank you for your courage."

Trump had been planning on spending the weekend in Florida. The White House says the timing of the visit has yet to be finalized.

**Continuing coverage on the shooting here**