NJ pols react to Texas church shooting
SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — New Jersey's congressional delegation reacted on social media to Sunday's shooting inside a church that killed 26 people.
Democrats Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Rep. Frank Pallone all struck a common theme and said the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs was the result of a continuing gun violence problem in the U.S.
"We are not powerless to reduce gun violence in our nation. Congress must act," Booker wrote in his tweet.
"There is a gun violence epidemic in our country & we can't allow this to continue," Pallone tweeted.
Rep. Donald Payne called mass shootings "a cancer we must treat without delay."
Sen. Robert Menendez offered prayers, while Rep. Tom MacArthur was grateful for the first responders.
New Jersey's major gubernatorial candidates weighed in on the shooting as well. Democrat Phil Murphy called for a discussion about the "scourge of gun violence," while Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno sent thoughts and prayers to Sutherland Springs and the first responders. Guadagno is a former Monmouth County Sheriff.
President Donald Trump, who was in Japan, called the shooting an "act of evil," later calling the gunman "a very deranged individual."
Law enforcement has not officially identified the gunman or a motive. Two officials — one a U.S. official and one in law enforcement — identified him as Devin Kelley. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.
The U.S. official said Kelley lived in a San Antonio suburb and didn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. Investigators were looking at social media posts Kelley made in the days before the attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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