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LI congressional delegation condemns Texas church shooting

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Friday, April 28,

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Friday, April 28, 2017, in Central Islip. Credit: AP / Frank Franklin II

Members of the New York congressional delegation decried the shooting in Texas that killed more than two dozen people Sunday while Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo warned Americans not to become numb to such massacres.

A gunman opened fire outside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and then walked into morning services before noon, where he continued the rampage. Hours later, the death toll was at 26, with victims ages 5 to 72, multiple media outlets reported. The gunman fled in a vehicle, pursued by an armed “local citizen,” and crashed the car. Authorities said it was unclear if the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if the citizen fatally shot him.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said in a telephone interview Sunday night that he didn’t believe Congress would enact stricter gun control in light of the shooting.

“It didn’t happen after Las Vegas,” he said. “It didn’t happen after Sandy Hook. I don’t see it happening now.”

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) said in a statement that she’d spent Sunday visiting churches on Long Island. News of the attack reminded her of “how peaceful and protected I feel every time I step into a place of worship.”

“At least 26 people, including young children, were celebrating their faith and feeling that sense of peace and protection in the moments before they became the victims of another mass shooting in America,” she said. “I honestly can’t think of anything more terrifying and heartbreaking and un-American than that.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) denounced the attack on Twitter.

“How many times can our hearts break for communities in America ripped apart by gun violence?” she wrote. “We can never allow this to be the new normal.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) did not issue a statement Sunday night.

Cuomo said in a statement that Americans cannot become “numb to tragedy.”

“We cannot accept mass shootings as part of who we are — this can and must stop,” he said. “In the memories of those we lost today in Texas, and last month in Las Vegas, and last year in Orlando, and all across this nation, we must come together and say: Enough is enough,” Cuomo said.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) posted on Facebook: “While we await further information on what drove this evil murderer to destroy so many lives and families, hopefully our very talented law enforcement community will be able to provide us with clues and answers in earnest.”

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) issued a statement saying: “There is no question we have a problem in our country. I am concerned that my colleagues across the aisle refuse to put anything on the floor related to gun violence prevention. It is very frustrating and very sad that more people have been murdered this way.”

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