TOKYO — President Trump declared that the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Tex., that left at least 26 people dead was not “a guns situation,” saying instead he believed that “mental health” was the problem.
Trump’s comments came at a news conference in Tokyo, when he was asked about the shooting at a South Texas church and if stricter gun laws were the answer.
“I think that mental health is your problem here,” Trump said. “Based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems for a long period of time.”
“But,” Trump added, “this isn’t a guns situation.”
Though the alleged shooter has been identified as Devin Kelley, 26, the full mental state of Kelley has yet to be determined. Kelley, a Texas man who enlisted in the Air Force in 2010, was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and child, and received a bad conduct discharge from the military in 2014.
“This is a mental health problem at the highest level,” Trump said.
The president also said that the church shooting might have been even deadlier, but for the fact that “fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction.”
“Otherwise, it would have been, as bad as it was, it would have been much worse,” Trump said.
A local resident, armed with a weapon of his own, did confront Kelley as he exited the church and began firing, prompting him to flee in his vehicle.