"After the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear," she said. "These feelings are understandable and they are justified. But the answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence. Rather, the answer, our answer, all our answer must be action. Calm, peaceful, collaborative and determined action."
Here are her complete remarks from the press conference in Washington, D.C.:
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you all for being here today.
Last night at least five police officers were shot and killed, several more were injured, along with two civilians, as they sought to protect a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas. Our thoughts and our prayers and condolences go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones.
The Department of Justice, including the FBI, ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office on the scene is working closely with our state and local counterparts and we intend to provide any assistance that we can to investigate this attack and also to heal a community that has been severely shaken and deeply scarred by an unfathomable tragedy.
This is an unfolding situation. We will be providing additional information when it is available and appropriate.
But more so, this has been a week of profound grief and heartbreaking loss. The peaceful protest that was planned in Dallas last night was organized in response to the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Now, we've opened a civil rights investigation in Louisiana and we are providing assistance to local authorities in Minnesota who are leading the investigation there.
And today, we are feeling the devastating loss of Dallas area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson and four other fallen whose names remain unreleased as we await notification to all of the families.
Now, after the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear. These feelings are understandable and they are justified. But the answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence. Rather, the answer, our answer, all our answer must be action. Calm, peaceful, collaborative and determined action.
We must continue working to build trust between communities and law enforcement. We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law. And we must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers can get their hands on deadly weapons and the frequency with which they use them. And we must reflect on the kind of country that we want to build and the kind of society that we are choosing to pass on to our children.
Above all, we must reject the easy impulses of bitterness and rancor and embrace the difficult work, but the important work, the vital work of finding a path forward together. And above everything, we must remind ourselves that we're all Americans, and that as Americans, we share not just a common land but a common life. Not just common goals, but a common heart and soul.
And those we've lost this week have come from different backgrounds, different neighborhoods. But today, they're mourned by officers, by residents, by family and friends, by men and women and children who loved them, who needed them and who will miss them always. They are mourned by all of us.
To the families of all who've lost their lives in this series of tragedies, we share your pain and your loss. To our brothers and sisters who wear the badge, I want you to know that I am deeply grateful for the difficult and dangerous work you do every day to keep our streets safe and our nation secure. Our hearts are broken by this loss. The Department of Justice will do all we can to support you in the days ahead.
To those who seek to improve our country through peaceful protest and protective speech, I want you to know that your voice is important. Do not be discouraged by those that would use your lawful actions as a cover for their heinous violence. We will continue to safeguard your constitutional rights and to work with you in the difficult mission of building a better nation and a brighter future.
To all Americans, I ask you, I implore you, do not let this week precipitate a new normal in this country. I ask you to turn to each other, not against each other, as we move forward. Let us support one another. Let us help heal one another. I urge you to remember today and every day, we are one nation, we are one people and we stand together.
May God bless the families and the loved ones of all who were taken from us this week and comfort their grief with his everlasting grace. May God bless the United States of America.