Obama pledges federal support for Kalamazoo probe

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — President Barack Obama on Monday pledged “whatever federal support” is needed in the investigation of Saturday’s shooting rampage in Kalamazoo.

In comments to the National Governors Association in the White House State Dining Room, Obama lamented that “another one of our communities was terrorized by gun violence.”

Police say 45-year-old Jason Dalton drove to three locations in the Kalamazoo area on Saturday evening and shot several people, killing at least six and wounding two. The shootings appear to be random. Dalton has been charged with six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Obama said he had called the mayor, the sheriff and the police chief in Kalamazoo and offered federal support of their investigation.

“Their local officials and first responders, by the way, did an outstanding job in apprehending the individual very quickly. But you got families who are shattered today,” Obama said.

The president noted steps he took earlier this year that he said would “make it harder for dangerous people like this individual to buy a gun, but clearly we’re going to need to do more if we’re going to keep innocent Americans safe.”

Obama was referring to a set of new executive actions tightening the nation’s gun laws that he announced in January. Among the changes is an effort to expand background checks on gun purchases by requiring more sellers to register as licensed gun dealers.

“I’ve got to assume all of you are as tired as I am of seeing this stuff happen in your states,” Obama said. “So, that’s an area where we also need to partner and think about what we can do in a common-sense way and a bipartisan way without some of the ideological rhetoric that so often surrounds that issue.”

Over the weekend, Republican Rep. Fred Upton, whose district includes Kalamazoo, thanked the first-responders who “clearly prevented” this tragedy from being worse.

“Right now, our entire community feels the pain and loss of these innocent victims. We're anxious to hear more details as to how and why this tragedy unfolded,” Upton said in a statement.

“From the federal level, I will continue to work and listen to our local officials to examine what constructive actions we can undertake.”


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