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Pope Francis Sends Prayers, Assures Spiritual Closeness to Victims of Las Vegas Massacre

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 11:50 (IST)

Following the deadliest mass shooting in United States history, Pope Francis on Oct. 2 has sent a message expressing closeness and concern for the victims and their families, and entrusting the dead "to the merciful love of almighty God."

He has sent a telegram via Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Bishop Joseph Pepe of Las Vegas.

"Pope Francis sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected by this senseless tragedy," said Parolin, according to Crux.

"He commends the efforts of those police and emergency services personnel, and offers the promise of his prayers for the injured and for all who have died, entrusting them to the merciful love of almighty God," Parolin added.

As of Oct. 3, the death toll has risen to 59 leaving over 500 injured after a gunman opened fire on a music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, in what is now the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

Authorities said the suspected gunman is a 64-year-old Stephen Paddock who was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound before being overtaken by the police.

President Donald Trump addressed the nation and expressed his condolences to the victims and their families and issued a plea for national unity.

"Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted," he said.

"We know God lives in the hearts of those who grieve," he added.