At a press conference in Japan, President Donald Trump attempted to squash the narrative that gun regulation was needed following another mass shooting in the United States.
“Mental health is your problem here. This was a very, based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual. A lot of problems over a long period of time,” Trump said Monday.
“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation.”
On Sunday afternoon in Sutherland Springs, Texas, 26-year-old Devin Kelley, a former member of the United States Air Force, shot and killed 26 people who were attending a Sunday church service, The Associated Press and other media outlets reported, citing officials. Kelley’s victims included the 14-year-old daughter of the local pastor and a pregnant mother.
“We could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it; fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction,” Trump said. The president was alluding to the citizen who exchanged gunfire with Kelley before he fled the church.
Johnnie Langendorff recounted that act of heroism to ABC.
“I pulled up to the intersection where the shooting happened and I saw two men exchanging gunfire, the other being a citizen of the community,” Langendorff said. “The shooter of the church had taken off, fled in his vehicle, and the other gentleman came and he said, ‘We need to pursue him,’ that he just shot up the church. So that’s what I did. I just acted.”
Trump hailed Willeford and Langendorff for their bravery while condemning the killer.
“This is a mental health problem at the highest level … These are great people and a very, very sad event, but that’s the way I view it.”
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