Trump on Texas shooter who killed 26 people: “This isn’t a guns situation”

Mourners gathered for the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting at a candlelight vigil in Sutherland Springs on Sunday night, Nov. 5, 2017. Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

 

President Donald Trump called the shooter who killed 26 people at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs a “very deranged individual” who has a “mental health problem at the highest level.”

President Donald Trump called the shooter who killed 26 people at a church outside of San Antonio  on Sunday a “very deranged individual” who has a “mental health problem at the highest level.”

At a press conference on Sunday, law enforcement officials said it was too early to speculate on a motive for the killings. But Trump said the shooter — who is 26-year-old Devin Kelley of Comal County, according to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo — had “a lot of problems over a long period of time.”

“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country — as do other countries — but this isn’t a guns situation,” Trump said while speaking at an event in Japan. “I mean, we could go into it but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. But, fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction.”

On Sunday, Kelley entered First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs and opened fire. The victims range from a 5-year-old to a 72-year-old. The pastor’s 14-year-old daughter was among the victims.

“We’re not sure if that number will rise or not,” Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday night at a news conference. “This will be a long, suffering mourning for those in pain. These people were innocently gunned down.”

About 20 others were taken to hospitals yesterday with “minor” to “very severe” injuries.

Officials say when the shooter was confronted by a local resident with a gun, he fled the scene. He was later found dead in his car. The Associated Press reported Sunday that Kelley served in the Air Force but received a bad conduct discharge after he was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and child.

Check back here for updates throughout the day.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • A lone gunman killed at least 26 people and injured many more at a church in Sutherland Springs. The tiny town was left reeling from the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history. [Full story]

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