Trump: Texas Shooting Result Of ‘Mental Health Problem’
The United States is in mourning after a gunman armed with an assault rifle killed at least 26 people at a church in Texas, among them an 18-month-old baby and elderly worshipper, as debates over the ownership of weapons resurfaced.
Sunday’s shooting came little more than one month after the deadliest shooting in recent US history, when a gunman on October 1 killed 58 people attending a concert in Las Vegas.
As vigils for the dead took place, US President Donald Trump, who is visiting Japan, offered condolences and told reporters on Monday: “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, but this isn’t a gun situation.”
He described the Texas gunman as “deranged”, saying the shooting represented a “mental health problem at the highest level”.
The shooting, which took place on Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was carried out during the 11:00am (17:00 GMT) service.
Officials said that the 26 victims ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years old.
Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, said that 20 were injured in Sunday’s shooting, with 10 people still in critical condition. Martin said those treated in hospitals ranged in age from 5 to 73.
The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter and a pregnant woman were also reported to be among the victims.
“It impacts us all. We’re a family,” said Lee Rios, a resident of Sutherland Springs. “It causes us to stop what we’re doing, start to pray, and see how we can serve.”
He is suspected of killing 23 people inside the church and two outside. One victim died after being transferred to hospital.
Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt Jr. told CNN in an interview on Monday that relatives of Kelley sometimes worshipped at the church but were not there during Sunday’s attack.
“We know that his ex-in-laws or in-laws came to church here from time to time,” Tackitt Jr. said. “They were not here yesterday.”
Authorities said Kelley entered the church and opened fire. He then dropped his weapon and fled the church after a local resident used his own gun to engage. The suspect led police on a brief car chase until he crashed his vehicle.
He was later found dead.
Source: Al Jazeera