'Not a gun situation'
President Donald Trump said the United States was living in "dark times" as it grieved yesterday a shooting massacre at a Texas church, but with calls for stricter gun control reinvigorated, he insisted the latest tragedy "isn't a guns situation."
Sunday's carnage, which came just five weeks after the worst gun massacre in modern US history, saw a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest use an assault rifle to open fire on the congregation of a small-town Texas church, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more.
"I think that mental health is your problem here," Trump told journalists when asked if gun control could reduce the rampant firearms violence plaguing the US.
Speaking in Tokyo as part of his Asia tour, the US president dubbed the gunman "deranged" and said the most recent mass shooting to hit the US "isn't a guns situation."
The victims, who ranged in age from five to 72, were gunned down at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a rural community of some 400 people 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of San Antonio.
The gunman, widely identified as Devin Kelley, 26, was described by authorities as a young white male who was found dead in his vehicle after being confronted by a local resident.
Dressed all in black, Kelley fired outside the church before entering the building and continuing to spray bullets, said Freeman Martin, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
"As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle and fled from the church. Our local citizen pursued the suspect at that time," Martin said.