President Donald Trump today called the gunman who opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday “sick” and “demented.”
“He was a sick man. A demented man. Lot of problems, I guess.” Trump said in his first reference to the shooter before boarding Air Force One on his way to Puerto Rico, while also calling how “quickly” police responded to the deadly shooting a “miracle.”
At least 59 people were killed and 527 injured in Las Vegas Sunday night when Stephen Paddock allegedly fired shots at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Police believe Paddock killed himself before they entered the hotel room he used as a vantage point to allegedly carry out the shooting. It is the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.
Trump would not say whether he thought the shooting was an act of domestic terrorism, but he called the gunman a “very, very sick individual.”
He again praised the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “How quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle,” Trump said.
“What happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle,” he added, echoing the statement he delivered Monday in the White House Diplomat Room. “The police department has done such an incredible job.”
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“The speed with which they acted is miraculous, and prevented further loss of life,” Trump said Monday of the police department and other first responders.
Trump plans to visit Las Vegas Wednesday to meet with the victims’ families, as well as first responders.
The deadly mass shooting has rekindled calls for stricter gun control laws, including Jimmy Kimmel’s passionate monologue in which he singled out members of Congress for their inaction.
“They should be praying,” Kimmel said of lawmakers. “They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country. Because it is; it is so crazy.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said during Monday’s press briefing “there’s a time and place for political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country.”
Trump addressed the scrutiny, saying, he’ll be “talking about gun laws as time goes by.”
Meanwhile, Trump is making a belated trip to Puerto Rico. The president travels to Puerto Rico today, two weeks after Hurricane Maria first made landfall on the island.
He plans to meet with Federal Emergency Management Agency and military officials, first responders and citizens of Puerto Rico and their families, Trump said.