'It's absolutely tragic': US Vice President Kamala Harris condemns Colorado mass shooting

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
Washington, United States Published: Mar 23, 2021, 10:26 PM(IST)

US Vice President Kamala Harris and Colorado mass shooting Photograph:( Agencies )

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Together the killings ignited new calls for US politicians to act against the country's notoriously lax gun ownership laws

US Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday called the mass shooting in Colorado a day earlier that left ten people dead "absolutely tragic."

A 21-year-old man was charged Tuesday with gunning 10 people down in a Colorado grocery store, as America reeled from its second mass shooting in less than a week, sparking urgent new calls for gun control.

Also see| After Atlanta spa shootings, Colorado supermarket attack rocks US

The first officer on the scene, 51-year-old Eric Talley, was among those killed, a tearful Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a Monday news conference. An 11-year veteran of the force, Talley was the father of seven children and had recently been looking for a less dangerous job, according to a statement released by his father.

Harris praised the officer, saying he acted with "great courage and heroism."

The vice president made the remarks during a swearing-in ceremony for Ambassador William Burns to be the next CIA director.

The suspect, named as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was in hospital after being shot in an exchange of fire with officers following the attack on King Soopers in Boulder County, 30 miles (50 kilometres) northwest of the state capital Denver, on Monday afternoon.

Sarah Moonshadow, 42, was at the checkout line with her adult son, Nicholas, when the gunfire began.

"And I said, 'Nicholas, get down.' And Nicholas ducked. And we just started listening and there, just repetitive shots ... and I just said, 'Nicholas, run,'" she said.

Moonshadow said she tried to attend to a victim she saw lying on the pavement outside the store, but her son pulled her away, telling her, 'We have to go.'" She broke down in sobs recounting their ordeal, adding, "I couldn't help anybody."

The massacre came less than a week after another gunman shot dead eight people at multiple spas in the Georgia state capital Atlanta. The suspect, in that case, is also facing murder charges.

Together the killings ignited new calls for US politicians to act against the country's notoriously lax gun ownership laws. 

Tighter gun control is overwhelmingly popular with Americans -- and backed by President Joe Biden -- but Republicans have long stood against what a minority view as any infringement on their right to bear arms.

"He is charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree and will be shortly transported to Boulder county jail," Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold told a press conference.

The police chief also read out, one by one, the names of the 10 people killed in the attack, men and women aged from 20 to 65 who included a police officer who was a father of seven. 

The massacre came less than a week after another gunman shot dead eight people at multiple spas in the Georgia state capital Atlanta. The suspect, in that case, is also facing murder charges.

Together the killings ignited new calls for US politicians to act against the country's notoriously lax gun ownership laws. 

Tighter gun control is overwhelmingly popular with Americans -- and backed by President Joe Biden -- but Republicans have long stood against what a minority view as any infringement on their right to bear arms.

Biden said last month he wanted Congress to pass laws that would require background checks on all gun sales and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"This administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call," he said at the time.

This month the House of Representatives passed two measures aimed at enhancing background checks and closing a loophole related to a deadly 2015 church shooting in Charleston.

The bills address a hugely popular premise among American voters: that background checks be required for all US firearm sales, including those at gun shows.

According to the gun violence archive, over 19 thousand people were killed in shootings and firearm-related incidents last year. It is the highest death toll in the past 20 years.

According to a report in 2018, more than 393 million firearms are available to American citizens. Whereas, the country's population was approximately 328 million.

42 per cent of the households in America own one or more than one firearm. Meanwhile, 45 per cent of males and 19 per cent of females own at least one gun.

Reportedly, Asian Americans are now buying guns to defend themselves. 

In 2020,  hate crimes against this community surged 149 per cent. 

More than eight million people have bought a gun in America since the pandemic began.

The FBI ran close to 40 million background checks for gun purchases last year, as per a report. And for 2021, the background checks are already exceeding the pace of 2020

 

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