Trump calls Texas massacre 'an act of evil', but says guns not the problem

Trump calls Texas massacre 'an act of evil', but says guns not the problem

Trump calls Texas massacre 'an act of evil', but says guns not the problem

US President Donald Trump today denounced as an "act of evil" the Texas church shooting, but dismissed the need for guns control as he blamed "a very deranged individual" for the horrible incident that left 26 people dead.

A gunman, with a ballistic vest strapped to his chest and a military-style rifle in his hands, opened fire on worshippers at a Sunday service at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in rural Texas.

Twenty six people were killed in the massacre.

Trump, who is in Japan on the first leg of a 12-day Asia tour, said, "This horrible act of evil occurred as the victims and their families were in their place of sacred worship. We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel, and we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost the ones they loved."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters that at least 26 people were killed in the mass shooting to date.

The FBI is assisting local law enforcement officials in investigations. Authorities have not described this as a terrorist incident.

"In dark times such as these, Americans do what we do best: we pull together. We join hands. We lock arms. And through the tears and the sadness, we stand strong," Trump said.

He said his administration is providing its full support to the state and local authorities investigating this horrible crime.

"I have spoken with Governor Abbott, and we offer our thanks to the first responders who ultimately stopped the suspect and rendered immediate and lifesaving aid to the victims of this shooting. I will continue to follow developments closely," he said.

"All of America is praying to God to help the wounded and the families we will never leave their side," said the US President who has been constantly been in communication with Texas officials and other federal authorities.

Later responding to a question from the media about guns control in the wake of the shooting, Trump said the gunman had a "mental health problem" and that this "is not a guns situation".

"Preliminary reports show a very deranged individual whos been having a problem for a very long time," he said. "We have a lot of mental health problems in our country."

Trump said it was fortunate that another person on the scene had a firearm, otherwise "it would have been much worse."