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Police ID suspect, victims in Colorado attack; Biden calls on Congress to act

"We have been through too many of these," President Joe Biden said Tuesday.

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold wipes her eye at a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the shooting deaths of 10 people, including a police officer, at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold wipes her eye at a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the shooting deaths of 10 people, including a police officer, at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo. Photo by Bob Strong/UPI | License Photo

March 23 (UPI) -- Colorado authorities on Tuesday identified the accused gunman in the Boulder supermarket shooting spree as a 21-year-old man whose premeditated attack killed 10 people, including the first police officer on the scene.

At a news conference Tuesday, Boulder police Chief Maris Herold read the names of those killed inside the King Soopers store: officer Eric Talley, an 11-year member of the force; Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25, a manager at the store; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65.

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Herold said Ahmad Alissa has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder. Alissa was hospitalized with a leg wound suffered in the attack.

During the shooting, Alissa wore a tactical vest and carried a handgun as well as a Ruger AR-556 long gun -- which he purchased six days earlier -- according to his arrest warrant affidavit.

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He did not answer many questions asked by officers about the shooting and authorities have not released any information about a possible motive.

Local and federal authorities were working on the investigation.

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"Our objective ... is to conduct a thorough investigation, which includes identifying the subject's motives," FBI special agent Michael Schneider said.

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President Joe Biden, speaking before he left the White House on Tuesday afternoon for a trip to Ohio, said Talley was the "definition of an American hero" and called on Congress to act on gun reforms.

"We have been through too many of these," Biden said. "I don't need to wait another minute to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.

"We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. The United States Senate should immediately pass two House bills that would close loopholes in the [firearm] background check system."

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The president ordered all flags at the White House and other buildings to be lowered to half-staff to honor the victims.

"This cannot be our new normal," Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., said at Tuesday's briefing in Boulder. " We should be able to feel safe in our grocery stores ... we need to see a change. We have lost far too many lives."

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a press conference later Tuesday that Biden will continue to advocate for gun safety measures currently making their way through Congress, including an assault weapons ban.

Asked if the president plans to issue executive orders concerning gun violence, Psaki replied the administration is contemplating it.

"We are certainly considering a range of levers, including working through legislation, including executive action -- obviously not just gun safety measures but violence in communities," she said. "So that has been under discussion and will continue to be under discussion."

Boulder is home to the University of Colorado, located about 30 miles northwest of downtown Denver. On Monday, the school's men's basketball team played in the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis.

"We are shocked and saddened by the shooting that has rocked the Boulder community this afternoon, and our hearts go out to those impacted," the university tweeted.

Monday's is the second high-profile mass shooting in Colorado in less than a decade. Twelve people were shot dead at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012, when a gunman opened fire at the premiere of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.

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Shooter James Holmes, who dressed as the Batman villain the Joker during the attack, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the shooting. Aurora is about 30 miles southeast of Boulder.

Monday's supermarket shooting is the second major mass shooting in the United States in a week.

A gunman went on a shooting spree last week at three Atlanta-area spa establishments, killing eight. Police said the shooter in that case, Robert Aaron Long, confessed to the crime.

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