WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump hit out Saturday at what he called “hate” in America after a gunman opened fire at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing and injuring several people.
“It s a terrible, terrible thing what s going on with hate in our country, frankly, and all over the world,” Trump told reporters before leaving for a series of campaign events in Indiana and Illinois.
“Something has to be done,” said the president. “When people do this, they should get the death penalty.”
As local media reported the death toll in Pennsylvania could be as high as eight people, Trump said the shooting appeared “far more devastating than anybody originally thought.”
“The world is a violent world,” he said, calling the suspect “a mad man, a whacko.”
Asked whether it was time to revisit the country s lenient gun laws, the president suggested instead that the toll might have been far lower had armed guards been posted in the synagogue, which they reportedly do only on the religion s High Holy Days.
“If they had protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation,” he said. “They didn t.”
But Trump did call for stiffer penalties and speedier justice.
“I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue,” he said. “Anybody who does a thing like this to innocent people in temple, in church… they should really suffer the ultimate price.”
Over the past 10 years in the US, there have been mass shootings at a Texas church (26 people died), at a mainly African American church in South Carolina (nine dead), at two Jewish centers in Kansas City, Kansas (three dead), at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin (six dead, plus the shooter), and at a Unitarian church in Tennessee (two dead).
Asked if all churches and synagogues should have armed guards, Trump replied, “I hate to think of it that way.”
He then added: “Certainly you want protection. They didn t have any protection. … Results could have been much better.”
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