Trump visits shooting victims at hospital, first responders

By Allen Cone  |  Feb. 17, 2018 at 9:58 AM
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Feb. 17 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump visited victims of the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., and offered thanks to medical personnel and first responders.

On Friday night, Trump traveled in a motorcade from Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport to North Broward Hospital in Pompano Beach. Travel companions included U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and first lady Melania Trump.

Trump then went to the Broward County Sheriff's Office in downtown Fort Lauderdale where he briefly spoke to the media.

"What a great job you've done, and we appreciate it very much. An incredible job, and everybody's talking about it," Trump said, according to media pool report.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in Wednesday's shooting. Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein told NBC News that Cruz's attorneys said Cruz is "willing to plead guilty to life without parole."

Trump was led around the hospital by Dr. Igor Nichiporenko, medical director of trauma services.

During the visit at the hospital Trump met girls basketball player Maddy Wilford, 18, who is now in stable condition.

"I just got back from the hospital. A young woman was shot -- four bullets, two in her lungs," Trump said. "And they got her over to the hospital in less than 21 minutes. She had no chance, and, between the first responders, your people who got her -- you know who I'm talking about -- they got her there."

Trump thanked them for their efforts.

"I'll tell you who appreciates it, too, is the parents," Trump said. "Because I was at the hospital with the parents and they are very thankful for the job. They're in really great shape considering most people would not have been. They are really thankful."

He also appeared with Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Sheriff Scott Israel and several first responders.

"My name is Officer Michael Leonard. I'm with Coconut Creek Police Department. I was the one that located the shooter. With the assistance of my backup, once they arrived -- Sergeant [inaudible] of the Coral Springs Police assisted me in handcuffing and taking him into custody."

Trump responded: "That was so modest. I would have told it much differently. I would have said, 'Without me, they never would have found him.' "

Afterward, the motorcade left the headquarters and went to his private club, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, about 45 miles away.

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