Gov. Sam Brownback said that he and Attorney General Derek Schmidt will travel to Hesston on Friday to meet with law enforcement officers in the wake of Thursday’s mass shooting, which claimed the lives of four people, including the gunman.
“This is a difficult time for us in the state of Kansas,” Brownback said at an emotional news conference Friday morning at the Capitol. “It’s a difficult time for the families, the community, and we lift them up in our prayers.”
Brownback repeatedly called the shooting a terrible tragedy.
He said it was “no time to discuss” whether this should prompt Kansas, which has some of the loosest gun laws in the country, to enact tighter gun regulations or spend more money on the state’s mental health system, which has seen tight budgets in recent years.
“This is a time to support the community, support the families and that’s what we’re going to be doing,” Brownback said. “And to get to the bottom of this particular incident, this crime scene, as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
Brownback noted that he had visited the Excel plant, where the shooting took place, when the company was the 2013 Kansas exporter of the year. “I was just there at this plant not long ago. Excellent Kansas-based company,” he said.
Brownback praised local law enforcement for responding “so aggressively and rapidly” to the shooting and promised that state law enforcement agencies would assist in conducting a thorough investigation of the incident.