Donald Trump Says Texas Church Shooting Was Not ‘A Guns Situation’

US President Donald Trump on Monday called the mass shooting in Texas church that left at least 26 people dead a “mental health problem,” not “a gun situation”.

Asked what policies he might support in response to Sunday’s Sutherland Springs shooting at a press conference in Tokyo, Trump said that based on preliminary reports, the gunman was “a very deranged individual, a lot of problems”.

He said Sunday’s attack, which left a further 20 people injured, “isn’t a guns situation” and said it was a “little bit soon” to get into a discussion about gun reform.

He further noted that a person in the crowd with a gun shot at the attacker and caused him to flee: “Otherwise it would have been – as bad as it was – it would have been much worse.”

“This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event,” Trump said, having earlier asked: “Who would ever think a thing like this could happen?”.

In 2015, just a day after Trump launched his White House bid, nine people were killed in an attack on a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Trump’s attempts to distance the shooting from gun reform calls that have continued since the worst mass shooting in US history, in Las Vegas on October 1, are in stark contrast to the sentiment expressed by his predecessor.

Writing on Twitter, Barack Obama said he grieved with the families “harmed by this act of hatred,” and said he would “stand with the survivors as they recover”.

Donald Trump calls the attack in Texas, in which at least 26 people have been killed, an “act of evil”
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
In Japan, Donald Trump speaks about the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas
We grieve with all the families in Sutherland Springs harmed by this act of hatred, and we’ll stand with the survivors as they recover…
May God also grant all of us the wisdom to ask what concrete steps we can take to reduce the violence and weaponry in our midst.
In a subsequent message the former president urged those in power to take action to combat violence and reduce the prevalence of guns.

“May God also grant all of us the wisdom to ask what concrete steps we can take to reduce the violence and weaponry in our midst,” he wrote.

Trump’s statement on the shooting has not gone down well with commentators online who compared his response to his remarks made in the aftermath of last week’s terror attack in Manhattan that claimed eight lives.

Donald Trump last week: New York attack suspect should get death sentence. Trump today: Texas church massacre a “mental health problem”.
Trump on Texas shooting and gun control: “I think mental health is your problem here.”
Trump on Texas shooting and gun control: “It’s a little bit soon to go into it.” (He said this after Vegas shooting too)
Donald Trump “Mental health is your issue here. This is not a guns situation.” on Texas shooting
.@POTUS, at joint news conference, brings up the Texas church shooting. Asks: who would ever think a thing like that could happen?
NEW / POTUS on TX shooting: “this isn’t a guns situation. We could go into it” but it’s a little soon, he says. Focuses on mental health.
Donald Trump monitoring the skin colour of the shooter at #SutherlandSprings Texas while in Japan.
Fuck you Donald Trump, what happened in Texas was a gun control problem, not just a mental health problem
Oh btw, still waiting on Donald Trump to call the #texas shooter a terrorist. Call for the death penalty.He’s white.I’ll wait. #GunControl
Speaker Paul Ryan again called for “prayers” in the wake of the shooting and was mocked for it.

He did the same thing in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre in February 2016 that resulted in 14 deaths, prompting the New York Daily News to produce a much lauded front page story headlined ‘God Isn’t Fixing This’.

Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.
They were praying when they got shot, so I’m gonna go ahead and say prayers are insufficient when bullets are involved.
An early look at tomorrow’s front page… GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS:
The gunman believed to be responsible for the First Baptist Church massacre has been identified in multiple reports as Devin Patrick Kelley, a 26-year-old former member of the US Air Force.

Kelley is a white male from outside of San Antonio, ABC News reported, and according to USAF spokeswoman Ann Stefanek, he served at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge in 2014.

The Air Force said late Sunday that Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for assault on his spouse and their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, a 12-month sentence in a military prison and a reduction in rank for the offense.

Here’s a picture of the Texas church shooting suspect Devin Patrick Kelley, 26.
After fleeing the shooting scene – about 65 km (40 miles) east of San Antonio – the suspect was found dead by a gunshot wound in his vehicle in neighboring Guadalupe County, Wilson County authorities said.

“The exact circumstances of the gunman’s death are still under investigation,” a statement from the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

Prior to the shooting, the suspect was seen at a gas station dressed in all black before crossing the street to the church and opening fire on the congregation with a “Ruger AR assault-type rifle,” Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Freeman Martin said at a subsequent press conference on Sunday.

“This investigation is ongoing and information surrounding this tragedy is still being gathered and confirmed by law enforcement officials,” the sheriff’s office and Texas DPS said.

The deceased are aged between 5 and 72 years old.