Trump: Texas shooting a 'mental health' problem, not a 'guns situation'

President Trump said Monday that a mass shooting at a Texas church that left 26 dead was not “a guns situation,” declaring that the problem was the shooter’s “mental health.”

“I think that mental health is your problem here,” Trump said during a news conference in Tokyo in response to a question about the massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas. “This was a very — based on preliminary reports — a very deranged individual. A lot of problems over a long period of time.”

Police have identified the shooter as Devin Kelley, 26, but have not issued an assessment about his mental health. Kelley reportedly received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force in 2014 over allegations of domestic violence.

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The president said that “we have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a guns situation.”

“This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event,” Trump added.

Authorities said the gunman opened fire with a variant of the AR-15, a popular high-powered rifle that is based on the military's M16.

The shooting, in which 26 people were killed and 20 others injured, shocked the country and cast a cloud over Trump’s visit to Asia.

He first reacted to the speech earlier Monday while speaking at the U.S. Embassy in Japan, calling the violent outburst an “act of evil.”

Later at the news conference, Trump declared that “it’s a little bit soon” to discuss the issue of guns and suggested that more people would have been killed if another armed person had not opened fire on Kelley.

“Fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposition direction,” he said. “Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse.”