Following the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday that killed at least 26 people, several leaders and celebrities condemned the senseless violence and offered condolences to the affected while calling for stricter gun control laws in the US.
US president Donald Trump on Monday condemned what he described as a "horrific shooting," after the rampage at the Texas church.
"This act of evil occurred as the victims and their families were in their place of worship. Our hearts are broken," Trump said on a visit to Japan.
"We pull together, we join arms ... through the tears and the sadness we stand strong," added the president, addressing business leaders on day two of his Asian trip.
A gunman stormed into a Baptist church in rural Sutherland Springs during Sunday morning services and began shooting at the people.
The shooter, whose motives were not immediately clear, was dressed in black and wearing a ballistic vest, authorities said.
Officials didn't identify the attacker during a news conference Sunday night, but two other officials — one a US official and one in law enforcement — who were briefed on the investigation identified him as Devin Kelley. Media reports added that he had been dishonorably discharged from the Air Force.
Along with Trump, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe also expressed his condolences on Twitter. Trump touched down in Japan on Sunday, kicking off a grueling and consequential trip to Asia during which he'll exhort allies and rivals to step up efforts to counter the dangers posed by North Korea's nuclear threat.
I offer my deepest condolences for those who lost their lives in the incident that occurred in the U.S. state of Texas.
— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) November 6, 2017
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
PM: Tragic loss of life in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Thoughts and prayers with all those affected by this terrible shooting.
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) November 5, 2017
Condolences poured in from all over the US on Twitter, with many calling for stricter gun control laws. Here are a few reactions:
We must do more than mourn and pray for those murdered in Texas. We must act. — John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) November 6, 2017
Heartbroken for the victims in Texas and their families. We are not powerless to reduce gun violence in our nation. Congress must act. — Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 6, 2017
Horrible news out of Texas. My heart is with everyone hurt by this tragedy. We must take action to stop this senseless gun violence. — Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) November 6, 2017
Heartbroken by the news out of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Praying for the victims and their families. — Senator Todd Young (@SenToddYoung) November 6, 2017
Disgusted over the (yet another) shooting in Texas. Someone tell me why AR-15s are still legal to buy, please. — Megan Mace (@officialMegann) November 6, 2017
Our hearts break for all those in Sutherland Springs. Boston’s thoughts and prayers are with Texas during this terrible time. — Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) November 6, 2017
How many more have to die before we enact sane gun control laws? — Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 5, 2017
My heart breaks for the lives lost in the Texas shooting today. Praying for their families and everyone affected by another senseless act. — Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) November 6, 2017
A reminder: students at Texas universities are allowed to bring guns on campus and as professors we have no effective way of managing this. — Mat Johnson (@mat_johnson) November 6, 2017
At the news conference, Freeman Martin, the regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the attacker crossed the street and started firing a Ruger AR rifle at the church, and continued after entering the building.
As he left, he was confronted by an armed resident who chased him. A short time later, the suspect was found dead in his vehicle at the county line, Martin said. There were several weapons inside.
Martin said it's unclear if the attacker died of a self-inflected wound or if he was shot by the resident who confronted him. He said investigators weren't ready to discuss a possible motive for the attack. He said the dead ranged in age from five to 72 years old. Twenty-three were found dead in the church, two were found outside and one died after being taken to a hospital.
Sutherland Springs, where the shooting took place, is in a rural area where communities are small and tight-knit. The area is known for its annual peanut festival in Floresville, which was held last month.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Nov 06, 2017 07:49:41 IST