President Trump to address nation after multiple shootings leave 29 dead
US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.
The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.
Trump will again find himself in the role of consoler-in-chief after a tragedy — which he has struggled with in the past — when he speaks at 10:00 am (1400 GMT).
Following the shootings, Trump said “hate has no place in our country,” but he also blamed mental illness for the violence.
“These are really people that are very, very seriously mentally ill,” he said, despite the fact that police have not confirmed this to be the case.
“We have to get it stopped. This has been going on for years… and years in our country,” he said.
In Texas, 26 people were wounded, and 27 in Ohio, where the shooter was killed in roughly 30 seconds by police who were patrolling nearby.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told a news conference that the quick police response was “crucial,” preventing the shooter from entering a bar where “there would have been… catastrophic injury and loss of life.”
Biehl said the shooter wore a mask and a bullet-proof vest and was armed with an assault rifle fitted with a 100-round drum magazine.
Police named the gunman as a 24-year-old white man called Connor Betts and said his sister was among those killed. She had gone with him to the scene of the shootings.
Six of the nine people shot dead were black, but Biehl said Betts’ motive was still unclear.
In Texas, police said the suspect surrendered on a sidewalk near the scene of the massacre. He was described in media reports as a 21-year-old white man named Patrick Crusius.
He was believed to have posted online a manifesto denouncing a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas. El Paso, on the border with Mexico, is majority Latino.