Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the country must face “hard truths” about race and gun violence in the wake of a mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine people dead.
Clinton told an audience Thursday at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Las Vegas that the news “broke my heart.”
“The shock and pain of this crime of hate strikes deep,” she said, as quoted by National Journal. “Nine people, women and men. Cut down at prayer, murdered in a house of God. It just broke my heart.”
Like President Barack Obama did earlier in the day, Clinton also urged Americans to address gun violence after failing to act in the wake of past mass shootings like the 2012 Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre. She said that the country must “face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division” in order to make sense of the latest tragedy, according to National Journal.
“How many innocent people in our country—little children to church members to movie theater attendees—how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?” she said, as quoted by National Journal. “So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity that we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together.”
The former secretary of state first reacted to the shooting Wednesday night on Twitter:
Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2015
She’d been campaigning in the Palmetto State and made a speech in North Charleston just hours before the attack. Many of the political reporters following Clinton on the campaign trail were quickly deployed to cover the aftermath of the shooting.
This post has been updated.