A week after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, in which a gunman killed nine people and himself, President Barack Obama traveled to the town to console survivors and grieving families.
Several hundred people stood outside the gates of the Roseburg airport when the president arrived on Oct. 9. Most were holding cellphones to record the presidential motorcade, but some were carrying Confederate flags and anti-Obama signs, reports The New York Times.
Some of the signs read, "Please leave us in peace," "Gun free zones are for sitting ducks," "Obama is wrong" and "Nothing trumps our liberty."
Some local political leaders had organized a protest on a Facebook event page titled "Defend Roseburg, Deny Barack Obama," reports International Business Times. The page, which has since been removed, featured a picture of a welcome mat reading “Not welcome!”
Some residents disagreed with the president's remarks about gun violence in a press conference on the day of the shooting, on Oct. 1, where he promised to politicize the issue of gun violence for the remainder of his presidency.
"Polarizing as usual, Mr. Obama has insisted on politicizing the event as a conduit for increased executive orders on gun control via means of his pen and his phone," the event page read.
The president did not make any public appearances in Roseburg, which was a short visit. The White House issued a statement that the president was in the town purely to console survivors of the tragedy, and not to try to garner support for changes in gun laws, according to The Washington Post.
After spending an hour with the victims' families, the president offered federal assistance for the town to help “heal from this loss.”
Before the president arrived in Oregon, news broke of two other campus shootings. The shootings left one dead and three wounded at Northern Arizona University, as well as one dead in an apartment complex near Texas Southern University.