Trump calls Texas shooting a 'mental health problem'



US president Donald Trump on Monday said the Texas shooting that killed 26 people was a "mental health problem at the highest level" and that guns were not to blame.

"We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, but this isn't a gun situation," he said, describing the gunman as "deranged".

At least 26 people died when a gunman dressed all in black and wearing body amour launched a bloody assault on a Baptist church in Texas, opening fire from outside its neat, white walls before walking inside.

In just a few minutes the man, later identified as 26-year-old Devin Kelley, brought the plague of gun violence to small-town America, cutting down half of a congregation in a small, tight-knit community.

Officials said the victims ranged in age from five to 72.

President Donald Trump denounced the killings as “an act of evil” and said he was being kept up to date with developments as he toured Asia.

The attack in Sutherland Springs only came to an end when a neighbour, alerted by the sound of gunfire, raced to the scene and engaged the suspect with his own rifle, according to a version of events described by Freeman Martin, of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The shooter dropped a Ruger assault rifle at the scene and drove away. His escape ended at the county line.

“He ran off the roadway and crashed. He was found deceased in his vehicle,” said Mr Martin, who added it was not clear whether he died from a gunshot wound inflicted by the pursuer or some other cause.

Locals rushed to the First Baptist Church fearing the worst in a town of fewer than 400 people, where everybody knows each other. Some joined hands and prayed as emergency services went about their work, recovering bodies from inside and outside the church and taking the wounded to hospital.

____________

Read more:

Devin Kelley: Air force reject who became a mass murderer

Texas governor confirms 26 dead after church shooting in Texas

____________

As details began circulating of the dead or wounded, a picture emerged of a congregation made up of families.

Sherri Pomeroy, the wife of the church’s pastor, said their daughter was killed while she and her husband were out of town for the weekend.

“We lost our 14-year-old daughter today and many friends," she said. "Neither of us have made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation."

A six-year-old boy was shot four times and was last night undergoing emergency surgery.

Albert Gamez, Wilson County commissioner, told CNN: “My heart is broken. We never think where it can happen, and it does happen. It doesn't matter where you're at. In a small community, real quiet and everything, and look at this, what can happen.”

The shock swept through a town in rural south-east Texas that comprises little more than a post office, a dollar store and two churches.

_______________

Previous mass shootings

— Oct 1, 2017: A gunman identified by authorities as Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from the 32nd floor of a hotel-casino, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500. SWAT teams with explosives then stormed his room and found he had killed himself.

— June 12, 2016: Gunman Omar Mateen opened fire at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, killing 49 people. Mateen was later killed in a shoot-out with police.

— Feb 25, 2016: Cedric Ford, 38, killed three people and wounded 14 others at a lawnmower factory where he worked in the central Kansas community of Hesston. The local police chief killed him during a shoot-out with 200 to 300 workers still in the building, authorities said.

— Feb 20, 2016: Jason Dalton, 45, is accused of randomly shooting and killing six people and severely wounding two others during a series of attacks over several hours in the Kalamazoo, Michigan, area. Authorities say he paused between shootings to make money as an Uber driver. He faces murder and attempted-murder charges.

— Dec 2, 2015: Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, opened fire at a social services centre in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding more than 20. They fled the scene but died hours later in a shoot-out with police.

— Oct 1, 2015: A shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, left 10 people dead and seven wounded. Shooter Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, exchanged gunfire with police, then killed himself.

— June 17, 2015: Dylann Roof, 21, shot and killed nine African-American church members during a Bible study group inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Police contend the attack was racially motivated. Roof has been sentenced to death in the shootings.

— May 23, 2014: A community college student, Elliot Rodger, 22, killed six people and wounded 13 in shooting and stabbing attacks in the area near the University of California, Santa Barbara, campus. Authorities said he apparently shot himself to death after a gun battle with deputies.

— Sept 16, 2013: Aaron Alexis, a mentally disturbed civilian contractor, shot 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard before he was killed in a police shoot-out.

— July 26, 2013: Pedro Vargas, 42, went on a shooting rampage at his Hialeah, Florida, apartment building, gunning down six people before officers fatally shot him.

— Dec 14, 2012: In Newtown, Connecticut, an armed 20-year-old man entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 26 people, including 20 first-graders and six adult school staff members. He then killed himself.

— Sept 27, 2012: In Minnesota's deadliest workplace rampage, Andrew Engeldinger, who had just been fired, pulled a gun and fatally shot six people, including the company's founder. He also wounded two others at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis before taking his own life.

— Aug 5, 2012: In Oak Creek, Wisconsin, 40-year-old gunman Wade Michael Page killed six worshippers at a Sikh Temple before killing himself.

— July 20, 2012: James Holmes, 27, fatally shot 12 people and injured 70 in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

— April 2, 2012: Seven people were killed and three were wounded when a 43-year-old former student opened fire at Oikos University in Oakland, California. One Goh was charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, but psychiatric evaluations concluded he suffered from long-term paranoid schizophrenia and was unfit to stand trial.

_______________

“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” said Alena Berlanga. “Everybody's going to be affected and everybody knows someone who's affected.”

Mr Trump addressed the shooting during a pre-arranged appearance in Japan.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families,” he said. “In dark times Americans do what they do best, we pull together, we join hands, we lock arms and, through the tears and through the sadness, we stand strong, oh so strong.”

The death toll makes it the fifth worst in America’s modern history — one fewer than the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. And it comes barely a month after a gunman shot dead 58 people attending a Country music festival in Las Vegas and will prompt fresh calls for gun control.

Texas has some of the most relaxed laws in the country, and anyone over 18 can buy long guns — rifles or shotguns — without a permit so long as they have a clean criminal record.

Greg Abbott, Texas governor, said it was the worst shooting in the state’s history.

“The tragedy, of course, is worsened by the fact it occurred in a church, a place of worship, where these people were innocently gunned down,” he said at an evening briefing. “We mourn their loss.”

He added that counselling services would be made available to anyone who needed them.

Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as an FBI crisis response team were helping local police begin their investigation, as officers searched the crime scene and probing for a motive.

Officials said they were scouring Kelley’s social media presence as they sought a motive and local media reported that his house was being searched.

Investigators may be aided with video footage from inside the church.

The congregation’s YouTube page features complete recordings of services from the past three years. They show a small community at prayer, with flowers beside the altar and hymns accompanied by guitars.

Joe Tackitt, Wilson County Sheriff, said small towns were not immune to gun violence.

“We know what happened today,” he said. “It’s something we say does not happen in small communities. We found out today it does.”

Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Centre, about 10 miles from the church, said multiple victims were being treated for gunshot wounds. She declined to give a specific number but said it was fewer than a dozen.

Victims were also being taken to an army medical centre.

Frank Buford, of the nearby River Oaks Church, said the residents would support each other.

“We’re holding up as well as we can — we are a strong community, we are strong in our faith,” he told local reporters.

GOODBYE JULIA

Director: Mohamed Kordofani

Starring: Siran Riak, Eiman Yousif, Nazar Goma

Rating: 5/5

The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre, turbo four-cylinder

Transmission: 10-speed auto

Power: 300hp

Torque: 420Nm

Price: Dh189,900

On sale: now

The specs

Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 180hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 250Nm at 3,00rpm

Transmission: 5-speed sequential auto

Price: From Dh139,995

On sale: now

The Outsider

Stephen King, Penguin

Getting there and where to stay

Fly with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK. There's 11 flights a week and economy fares start at around Dh5,000.
Stay at The Mark Hotel on the city’s Upper East Side. Overnight stays start from $1395 per night.
Visit NYC Go, the official destination resource for New York City for all the latest events, activites and openings.

HAJJAN

Director: Abu Bakr Shawky 


Starring: Omar Alatawi, Tulin Essam, Ibrahim Al-Hasawi 


Rating: 4/5

Company profile

Name: Belong
Based: Dubai
Founders: Michael Askew and Matthew Gaziano
Sector: Technology
Total funding: $3.5 million from crowd funding and angel investors
Number of employees:
12

PRISCILLA

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

Rating: 3/5

RESULTS

3.30pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 – Group 1 (PA) $75,000 (Dirt) 2,000m
Winner: Jugurtha De Monlau, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Jean-Claude Pecout (trainer)

4.05pm: Dubai City Of Gold – Group 2 (TB) $250,000 (Turf) 2,410m
Winner: Global Storm, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

4.40pm: Burj Nahaar – Group 3 (TB) $250,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Discovery Island, James Doyle, Bhupat Seemar

5.15pm: Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint – Group 3 (TB) $250,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: Al Dasim, Mickael Barzalona, George Boughey

5.50pm: Al Bastakiya – Listed (TB) $170,000 (D) 1,900m
Winner: Go Soldier Go, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass

6.25pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 – Group 1 (TB) $450,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Salute The Soldier, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass

7.10pm: Ras Al Khor – Conditions (TB) $300,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Al Suhail, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

7.45pm: Jebel Hatta – Group 1 (TB) $350,000 (T) 1,800m
Winner: Alfareeq, Dane O’Neill, Charlie Appleby

8.20pm: Mahab Al Shimaal – Group 3 (TB) $250,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Sound Money, Mickael Barzalona, Bhupat Seemar

Famous left-handers

- Marie Curie

- Jimi Hendrix

- Leonardo Di Vinci

- David Bowie

- Paul McCartney

- Albert Einstein

- Jack the Ripper

- Barack Obama

- Helen Keller

- Joan of Arc

'Champions'

Director: Manuel Calvo
Stars: Yassir Al Saggaf and Fatima Al Banawi
Rating: 2/5
 

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

BLACKBERRY

Director: Matt Johnson

Stars: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson

Rating: 4/5

'Laal Kaptaan'

Director: Navdeep Singh

Stars: Saif Ali Khan, Manav Vij, Deepak Dobriyal, Zoya Hussain

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors

The Emperor and the Elephant

Author: Sam Ottewill-Soulsby

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Pages: 392

Available: July 11

Company profile

Name: Envi Lodges
Started: September 2021
Co-founders: Noelle Homsy and Chris Nader
Based: UAE
Sector: Hospitality
Number of employees: 12 to 15
Stage of investment: Series A

HOW TO WATCH

Facebook: TheNationalNews 

Twitter: @thenationalnews 

Instagram: @thenationalnews.com 

TikTok: @thenationalnews

Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)

Juliet, Naked
Dir: Jesse Peretz
Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Two stars

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

MATCH INFO

What: India v Afghanistan, first Test
When: Starts Thursday
Where: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengalaru

Results:

6.30pm: Handicap | US$135,000 (Dirt) | 1,400 metres

Winner: Rodaini, Connor Beasley (jockey), Ahmad bin Harmash (trainer)

7.05pm: Handicap | $135,000 (Turf) | 1,200m

Winner: Ekhtiyaar, Jim Crowley, Doug Watson

7.40pm: Dubai Millennium Stakes | Group 3 | $200,000 (T) | 2,000m

Winner: Spotify, James Doyle, Charlie Appleby

8.15pm: UAE Oakes | Group 3 | $250,000 (D) | 1,900m

Winner: Divine Image, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

8.50pm: Zabeel Mile | Group 2 | $250,000 (T) | 1,600m

Winner: Mythical Image, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

9.20pm: Handicap | $135,000 (T) | 1,600m

Winner: Major Partnership, Kevin Stott, Saeed bin Suroor

Feeding the thousands for iftar

Six industrial scale vats of 500litres each are used to cook the kanji or broth 

Each vat contains kanji or porridge to feed 1,000 people

The rice porridge is poured into a 500ml plastic box

350 plastic tubs are placed in one container trolley

Each aluminium container trolley weighing 300kg is unloaded by a small crane fitted on a truck

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees; nomadicroad.com

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way; threecamellodge.com

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2a)

Display: 6.7” flexible Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, 120Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro, 4nm, octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256GB

Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Main camera: Dual 50MP main, f/1.88 + 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; OIS, EIS, auto-focus, ultra XDR, night mode

Main camera video: 4K @ 30fps, full-HD @ 60fps; slo-mo full-HD at 120fps

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh; 50% in 30 mins w/ 45w charger

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection from water/dust

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Black, milk, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, SIM tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)

Latest
Most Read
Top Videos

View from DC

The inside scoop from The National’s Washington bureau

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      View from DC