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President Barack Obama offered comfort Sunday night to the survivors and the families of the 12 people killed in a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, never once mentioning by name the man accused of opening fire in a crowded movie theater.

“I confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations, but that my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment, and will continue to think about them each and every day,” Obama told reporters after the meeting at the University of Colorado Hospital, one of several area medical centers that treated the 58 people wounded in Friday’s attack.

Though much attention has been paid to the “perpetrator of this evil act,” that spotlight will fade, leaving behind just the good memories of those impacted by the tragedy, Obama said.

James Holmes, 24, is being held in connection with the shootings early Friday morning and the subsequent discovery of his booby-trapped apartment, which the authorities believe he rigged before leaving for the Century Aurora 16 multiplex. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday morning.

Obama recounted stories told to him by the victims’ families and those recovering from injuries.

“It reminds you that even in the darkest of days, life continues and people are strong,” the president said. “Out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come.”

Obama spoke before the start of a prayer vigil that brought together state and local officials with thousands of residents.

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