FORT MYERS, Fla. -- President Barack Obama says the tragic movie theater shooting in Colorado that left 12 people dead is a reminder that life is fragile. He says the event "reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family."
In Florida for a campaign swing, Obama asked for a moment of silence Friday and focused his shortened remarks exclusively on the tragedy.
Obama and challenger Mitt Romney both moved to pull down negative advertising. Romney, too, was scheduled to comment on the shooting during his own campaign appearance in New Hampshire.
Obama said the shooting underscores how "our time here is limited and it is precious." He said Friday should be devoted to prayer and reflection.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement that he and his wife, Ann, were "deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence" that led to the loss of life and injuries. He said they were praying for the families and loved ones of the victims "during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."
In a statement released earlier, Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama were shocked by the "horrific and tragic" shooting. Obama said his administration would do everything they can to support the people of Aurora, Colo.
"As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors," Obama said.
Obama canceled an appearance near Orlando, Fla., and returned to Washington after the short appearance in Fort Myers, Fla.. Romney, too, was to address the matter at a previously scheduled campaign event in New Hampshire. He canceled some media interviews.
Who is the alleged shooter, James Holmes? - CLICK HERE
Obama was notified about the incident at 5:26 a.m. EDT by his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan. The White House said there was no apparent connection to terrorism.