Live Updates: Suspect Charged With 10 Counts of Murder in Boulder, Colo., Shooting

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Flowers were left on Tuesday at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at King Soopers in Boulder, Colo.
Credit…Eliza Earle for The New York Times

The suspect charged in the murders of 10 people at a Boulder, Colo., grocery store — the second mass shooting to shake the country in less than a week — is a 21-year-old man from a nearby Denver suburb who used an AR-15 type of assault rifle, law enforcement officials said.

The police in Arvada, Colo., said they had two encounters in 2018 with the suspect, identified on Tuesday as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, of Arvada — one on a report of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and one of criminal mischief. It is not clear if he was convicted of a crime.

A police affidavit made public on Tuesday said that last week he bought a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic pistol, though it is not clear that weapon was involved in the shooting on Monday. The affidavit said he had both a rifle and a pistol at the store.

The suspect’s identity was known to the F.B.I. because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.

Among the victims of the massacre on Monday was Officer Eric Talley, 51, with the Boulder Police Department, who had responded to a “barrage” of 911 calls about the shooting, Chief Maris Herold said.

The authorities identified the nine additional victims as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

Chief Herold said at a news conference that police officers had run into the King Soopers grocery store within minutes of the shooting and had shot at the suspect. No other officers were injured during the response, she said. She said Mr. Alissa was taken to a hospital for treatment of a leg injury, and would be taken to jail on Tuesday.

He was charged on Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder. Officials gave no indication of a motive.

Court records show he was born in Syria in 1999, as did a Facebook page that appeared to belong to the suspect, giving his name as Ahmad Al Issa; the page was taken down within an hour of his name being released by the authorities. Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County district attorney, said the suspect had “lived most of his life in the United States.”

The Facebook page said he went to Arvada West High School, where he was a wrestler, and listed wrestling and kickboxing as being among his interests. Many of the posts were about martial arts, and one, in 2019, said simply, “#NeedAGirlfriend.”

The page said he had studied computer engineering at Metropolitan State University of Denver, though it was not clear if he was a current student.

The shooting came just six days after another gunman’s deadly shooting spree at massage parlors in the Atlanta area.

“Flags had barely been raised back to full mast after the tragic shooting in Atlanta that claimed eight lives, and now a tragedy here, close to home, at a grocery store that could be any of our neighborhood grocery stores,” Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, said at the news conference.

He noted that he was “someone who has called this community my home for most of my whole life and who has shopped at that King Soopers in Table Mesa many times.”

A federal law enforcement official confirmed that the weapon used was some version of an AR-15 rifle, a type of weapon that has been used in many mass shootings.

Chief Herold said the coroner’s office had identified all of the victims and notified their families before 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado said mass shootings could not be the “new normal.”

“In this year of separation due to Covid, of loss and of loneliness, grocery stores like King Soopers have been one of our consistent gathering places, one of the few routine activities that we’ve continued to engage in as Coloradans and as Americans,” Mr. Neguse said. “It’s hard to describe what it means for this safe place to see a horrible tragedy like this unfold.”

A video streamed live from outside of the grocery store on Monday had appeared to show a suspect — handcuffed, shirtless and with his right leg appearing to be covered in blood — being taken from the building by officers.

Employees and shoppers inside the grocery store described a harrowing scene.

“I thought I was going to die,” said Alex Arellano, 35, who was working in the store’s meat department when he heard a series of gunshots and saw people running toward an exit.

A man held a sign for the victims of the mass shooting on Tuesday.
Credit…Eliza Earle for The New York Times

The authorities in Boulder, Colo., on Tuesday identified the 10 victims of the grocery store shooting. They included a police officer, a young grocery store worker and a retiree who was at the King Soopers picking up groceries for an Instacart delivery.

Among the victims was Officer Eric Talley, 51, with the Boulder Police Department, who had responded to a “barrage” of 911 calls about the shooting. Authorities identified the nine other people who were killed as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

Here is what we know about the victims so far.

Credit…via Facebook

Rikki Olds, a 25-year-old who loved the outdoors, was a front-end manager at King Soopers, where she had worked for about seven or eight years, her uncle, Robert Olds, said in an interview.

Ms. Olds was an energetic, bubbly and “happy-go-lucky” young woman who “brought life to the family,” her uncle said. She had persevered, despite hardship, he said. She was the oldest of three siblings, and her mother had abandoned her when she was just seven years old — dropping her off at the doorstep of her grandparents, who raised her in Lafayette, Colo.

Mr. Olds described his niece as a strong and independent woman who enjoyed hiking and camping. She liked spending time with friends and family and often accompanied him and her cousins to their baseball games.

The whole family is in shock, particularly Ms. Olds’ grandmother, Mr. Olds said. “My mom was her mom,” he said. “My mom raised her.”

Credit…Boulder Police Department

Eric Talley, an 11-year veteran of the Boulder Police Department, was described as “heroic” by Chief Maris Herold at a news conference at the scene of the shooting on Monday night.

“He was the first on the scene, and he was fatally shot,” Chief Herold said, holding back tears. “My heart goes out to the victims of this incident.”

“The world lost a great soul,” said Officer Talley’s father, Homer Talley. “He was a devoted father — seven kids. The youngest was 7 and the oldest was 20, and his family was the joy of his life.”

Officer Talley was born in Houston and raised in Albuquerque. He joined the police force as a second career when he was 40, quitting a job in cloud communications, his father said in an interview on Tuesday morning.

“He wanted to be a servant,” Mr. Talley said. “He wanted to serve people. And you know, all kids want to be a policeman, and in many ways, he was a big kid.”

Lynn Murray, 62, a former photo director and mother of two, was at the grocery store on Monday filling an Instacart order, which she had enjoyed doing to help people since her retirement.

Ms. Murray was former photo director for several New York City magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Glamour, her husband said. The couple moved from New York in 2002, first to Stuart, Fla., then to Colorado, to raise their children.

“I just want her to be remembered as just as this amazing, amazing comet spending 62 years flying across the sky,” said her husband, John Mackenzie. She is also survived by two children: Olivia and Pierce.

Credit…Michael Bartkowiak

Tralona Lynn “Lonna” Bartkowiak, 49, managed a shop in Boulder that sold yoga and festival clothing, and had stopped by the shopping center to pick up a prescription when the shooting happened, said her brother, Michael Bartkowiak of Roseburg, Ore.

Mr. Bartkowiak described his older sister, the eldest of four close-knit, California-born siblings, as “an amazing person, just a beam of light.” She had moved to Boulder to run the store, Umba, which had been launched by their sister.

“She rented a house outside Boulder,” he said, “and lived there with her little Chihuahua, Opal. She had just gotten engaged. She was, you know, organic — stir fries, salads — she was always trying to be healthier.”

Mr. Bartkowiak had last seen his sister about a month ago, he said, when the family gathered in southern Oregon. “She came to visit for a couple of weeks — she and my other sister were doing a cleanse that they called the Moon Cleanse,” he said. “We just hung out and talked and chilled. That was the last time I saw her.”

Susan Campbell Beachy and Jack Begg contributed research.







Biden Pleads for Stricter Gun Laws in National Address

While addressing the nation on Tuesday after a shooting at a grocery store in Colorado, President Biden made a plea for stricter gun laws across the country.

Ten lives have been lost, and more families have been shattered by gun violence in the state of Colorado. And Jill and I are devastated, and the feeling, I just can’t imagine how the families are feeling. The victims, whose futures were stolen from them, from their families, from their loved ones, who now have to struggle to go on and try to make sense of what’s happened. While we’re still waiting for more information regarding the shooter, his motive, the weapons he used, the guns, the magazines, the weapons, the modifications that apparently have taken place to those weapons that are involved here — I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that’ll save the 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. I got that done when I was a senator, it passed it was the law for the longest time. And it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.

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While addressing the nation on Tuesday after a shooting at a grocery store in Colorado, President Biden made a plea for stricter gun laws across the country.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Biden said Tuesday that he was “devastated” by the killing of 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday and called on lawmakers to quickly enact legislation that renews bans on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines used in many mass shootings.

“This is not and should not be a partisan issue — it is an American issue,” a somber Mr. Biden said in brief remarks delivered in the State Dining Room at the White House. “We have to act.”

Mr. Biden said he would not comment on the details of the attack but said he had spoken to Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland since the shooting and would continue consultations during a flight to Columbus, Ohio, in the afternoon.

“Jill and I are devastated, the feeling, I just can’t imagine how the families are feeling,” he added, straying from his prepared text.

Mr. Biden then left to begin his trip to promote his $1.9 trillion stimulus package, one that is being shadowed by the new outbreak of an old problem: the mass killings of Americans with easily obtainable guns.

The attack Monday in Colorado, in which a gunman killed 10 people, including a police officer, came less than a week after another gunman murdered eight people in Atlanta. The back-to-back killings amounted to a return of mass casualty shootings that had seemed, for a time, to be suppressed by pandemic lockdowns.

“It’s 10 people going about their day living their lives, not bothering anybody,” said Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking at an event in Washington early Tuesday. She added that she was stunned that anyone would kill “a police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism.”

Mr. Biden was tasked with coming up with a legislative package of gun control measures by President Barack Obama after the Sandy Hook killings of 2012.

On Tuesday, the president directed flags at federal buildings to be kept at half-staff; They had been lowered until Monday evening in honor of those killed in Atlanta.

The White House is intent on juggling multiple priorities simultaneously, and had intended to keep the focus on informing people about the benefits of the pandemic relief package and promoting the 11th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act.

The act, a signature achievement of the Obama administration, has proved resilient, despite repeated Republican attacks. More than 200,000 Americans signed up for health insurance under the act during the first two weeks of an open enrollment period Mr. Biden created, and a provision in the stimulus package making Medicaid expansion more fiscally appealing has convinced two deep-red states, Alabama and Wyoming, to consider expanding the program.

While he is in Ohio, the president is also scheduled to meet with Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, to discuss coronavirus vaccinations and other matters related to the pandemic.

Police officers near the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday. A shooting there that left 10 dead followed a shooting rampage in the Atlanta area that killed eight last week. 
Credit…Theo Stroomer for The New York Times

The deadly shooting on Monday in Boulder, Colo., where 10 people were killed including a police officer, was the second mass shooting in the United States in less than a week.

On March 16, a gunman shot and killed eight people — six of them women of Asian descent — at three spas in the Atlanta area.

“Atlanta was a week ago and now it’s Boulder,” said Meredith Johnson, a 25-year-old Boulder resident, as she was walking on a sidewalk across the street from the King Soopers grocery store where the shooting occurred.

“What is it going to be two weeks from now?” she said. “We’re looking at it right in front of us — it’s not just something you see on your feed anymore and unfortunately that’s just a common experience in America. And especially for our generation.”

Vice President Kamala Harris commented on the shooting during the ceremonial swearing in for the new C.I.A. director, William J. Burns, in Washington on Tuesday morning. “It’s absolutely baffling,” Ms. Harris said. “It’s 10 people going about their day, living their lives, not bothering anybody. A police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism.”

Until the shooting in Georgia last week, it had been a year since there had been a large-scale shooting in a public place. In 2018, the year that a gunman killed 17 people and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., there were 10 mass shootings in which four or more people were killed in a public setting.

The following year, when a gunman targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people, there were nine such shootings.

“Those were the worst years on record,” said Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and a co-founder of the Violence Project, a research center that studies gun violence.

But before the shootings in Atlanta last week, there had been no such killings since March 2020, according to the Violence Project.

Other types of gun violence, however, increased significantly last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. There were more than 600 shootings in which four or more people were shot by one person compared with 417 in 2019. Many of those shootings involved gang violence, fights and domestic incidents, where the perpetrator knew the victims, Dr. Peterson said.

The early research suggests that widespread unemployment, financial stress, a rise in drug and alcohol addiction, and a lack of access to community resources caused by the pandemic contributed to the increase in shootings last year.

The police did not say what might have motivated the Colorado gunman, who is in custody.

In Atlanta, the shootings touched off calls to stop hate crimes against Asian-Americans, which have been rising during the pandemic. Some have blamed that rise on words used by former President Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly called the coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, “the Chinese virus.” The police have not ruled out a racial motive, even as the suspect denied racial animus, officials said.

Outside the King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colo., after shootings that left 10 people dead on Monday.
Credit…Eliza Earle for The New York Times

Maggie Montoya was in the pharmacy distributing coronavirus vaccine shots when the first gunshot cut through the busy aisles of the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo.

“Active shooter!” screamed a store manager who had been lined up for her own vaccination, and everyone scattered, Ms. Montoya, 25, recalled on Tuesday morning.

One person waiting in line for a vaccination was shot dead, Ms. Montoya said, and she and her co-workers raced for cover in back rooms behind the pharmacy counter. Ms. Montoya and another co-worker, huddled in what the pharmacy team calls the counseling room, dialed 911.

But as gunshots boomed just outside the door, Ms. Montoya decided she had a more urgent call to make. “I hung up and called my parents instead,” she said. “I wanted to hear their voice, for them to hear my voice in case it was the last time. I just told them I loved them and I had to go.”

Ms. Montoya heard the shooter yelling something indistinct as she hid in the counseling room, then the blare of a police loudspeaker as officers ordered him to surrender. Ms. Montoya recalls him saying, “I surrender. I’m naked.”

As they waited to be rescued, she got on the phone with her boyfriend, and he narrated the chaotic scene outside — officers rushing to the building, SWAT units descending on the roof.

Eventually, the police cleared the supermarket of threats and led Ms. Montoya and her colleagues through the bloody aisles and out of the building, urging them to avert their eyes.

But not far from the cash registers at the entrance, Ms. Montoya said she recognized the body of a co-worker, a head clerk who had regularly visited the stressed-out pharmacy workers throughout the pandemic to check in. Her co-worker, whom she declined to name, had just gotten vaccinated and was excited about plans to get a new tattoo.

A professional runner, Ms. Montoya had moved to Boulder for its active running scene and world-class trails. But on Tuesday, her father was flying into Colorado to help her gather some things and leave so she could be with her family. She said she spent the past hours replaying again and again the bloodshed she saw inside the store.

“Just reliving,” she said.

Boulder, Colo., adopted bans on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines in 2018, but a judge ruled last week that they could not be enforced.
Credit…Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

The city of Boulder enacted bans on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines in 2018 following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. But a state district court judge ruled this month that Boulder could not enforce the bans.

Law enforcement officials said on Tuesday that the gunman who killed 10 people at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder on Monday used an AR-15-type rifle, a kind of weapon that the city ordinances were intended to restrict.

Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that under a state law passed in 2003, cities and counties are barred from adopting restrictions on firearms that are otherwise legal under state and federal law, The Denver Post reported. Gun advocates made that argument when they sued to overturn the Boulder bans shortly after they were adopted.

The judge rejected the city’s arguments that the home-rule provisions of the state constitution gave it the power to adopt the bans as a matter of local concern, and that they were necessary because the state did not regulate such weapons. As of last week, lawyers for the city had not said whether they planned to appeal.

An assault weapons ban in Denver was allowed to stand by the Colorado Supreme Court in 2006. But the circumstances were somewhat different. Among other things, Denver’s ban, unlike Boulder’s, had already been on the books for years when the 2003 state law was passed.

An appeals court found that Denver had the right to adopt reasonable gun regulations despite that law. When the decision was appealed, the State Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 with one recusal. That left the appellate decision, and the Denver ban, in place, but it did not set a binding precedent for other cases.

Boulder’s ban is also being challenged in federal court on constitutional grounds.

The shooting at the King Sooper grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday came after a dangerous year for grocery workers, who dealt with the coronavirus and increasingly hostile customers.
Credit…Theo Stroomer for The New York Times

The shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., that left 10 people dead came after a year in which the pandemic made supermarkets a dangerous place for employees, who risked falling ill with the coronavirus and often had to confront combative customers who refused to wear masks.

“They’ve experienced the worst of the worst,” said Kim Cordova, who represents more than 25,000 grocery and other workers in Colorado and Wyoming — including those at the King Sooper store that was attacked — as the president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7.

At least 853 grocery store employees in Colorado have had the virus during the pandemic, according to outbreak data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The state does not list any infections at the store that was the site of the shooting, but Ms. Cordova said that all grocery store employees had risked their safety when they came to work and were confronted by hostile shoppers.

“They’ve seen horrible behavior by customers — spitting on them, slapping them, refusing to wear masks — but they were the first to be heroes,” Ms. Cordova said.

The union, U.F.C.W., which also represents meatpacking employees and other workers, said in a statement that at least four of its members in Colorado had died of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, and that at least 155 grocery workers across the country have died.

Ms. Cordova said her union had pushed for more security in grocery stores as customers grew more aggressive. And while she cautioned that it was not yet clear what the motive of the gunman was, she said grocery store workers have increasingly come under threat on the job since the pandemic began.

“We have seen this behavior become more aggressive and violent,” she said, “and this has really traumatized these employees.”

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, the man accused of killing 10 people in a grocery store attack in Colorado, was found guilty of misdemeanor assault when he was a high school senior, and the police in his hometown, Arvada, a suburb of Denver, said they had a separate encounter with him based on a report of “criminal mischief.”

According to a police affidavit, just a week ago, he bought a Ruger AR-556 pistol, though it is not clear that was the weapon used in the killings.

Students at Arvada West High School recalled Mr. Alissa in interviews as being prone to angry outbursts, and one said that “out of nowhere” he had became enraged and beat up another student during a class — apparently the incident that led to the assault conviction.

On Monday, law enforcement officials say Mr. Alissa, 21, who lived in Arvada, went to a King Soopers store in nearby Boulder and killed 10 people.

He was charged on Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder, which in Colorado carries a penalty of death or life in prison without parole. Officials have not suggested a motive for the crime.

Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County district attorney, said the suspect had “lived most of his life in the United States.”

A Facebook page that appeared to belong to the suspect, giving his name as Ahmad Al Issa, said he was a wrestler. Both the Facebook page and his record with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation say he was born in Syria in 1999.

The police affidavit released on Tuesday described Mr. Alissa as standing 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds. That is far more than the 140 pounds listed from his arrest in November 2017; a few months later he was found guilty of third-degree assault, and sentenced to probation and community service.

The affidavit said he bought the weapon on March 16, and that his brother’s girlfriend saw him playing with what she thought looked like a machine gun just two days before the shooting.

Mr. Alissa apparently had a serious interest in martial arts. The Facebook page listed wrestling and kickboxing as being among his interests, and many of the posts were about martial arts. One Facebook post, in 2019, said simply, “#NeedAGirlfriend.”

The page said he had studied computer engineering at Metropolitan State University of Denver, though it was not clear if he was a current student. It was taken down within an hour of Mr. Alissa’s name being released by the authorities.

The suspect’s identity was known to the F.B.I. because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.

Wooden crosses bearing the name of each of the shooting victims were set-up in the median strip on Las Vegas Blvd shortly after the mass shooting in 2017.
Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

There have been dozens of mass shootings in the United States in just the past five years, according to the Violence Project, which maintains a database of attacks in which at least four people were killed.

And before that, many more were seared into memories: San Bernardino, Calif., and Charleston, S.C., in 2015; Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., in 2012; Virginia Tech in 2007, among them.

Each new attack is a reminder of all of the others that came before it, as the nation has been unable to curb an epidemic of gun violence that far outpaces other countries. The bleak reality of a list like this is that it leaves out so many more, in addition to the mass shootings in Boulder and the Atlanta area over the last week.

Aug. 4, 2019: An entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio

Armed with an AR-15-style rifle and body armor, a gunman killed nine people and wounded 27 others in 32 seconds in a bustling entertainment district before he was fatally shot by a police officer.

Aug. 3, 2019: A Walmart in El Paso, Texas

Just 13 hours before the Dayton attack, a gunman prowled the aisles of a Walmart in El Paso, a majority-Hispanic border city, killing 23 people and wounding about two dozen others.

Oct. 27, 2018: A synagogue in Pittsburgh.

In one of the deadliest attacks against the Jewish community in the United States, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 congregants and wounding six others. The gunman shot indiscriminately at worshipers for several minutes.

Feb. 14, 2018: A high School in Parkland, Fla.

A 19-year-old man barged into his former high school about an hour northwest of Miami and opened fire on students and teachers, killing 17 people. The shooting prompted a wave of nationwide, student-led protests calling for tighter gun laws.

Nov. 5, 2017: A church in Sutherland Springs, Texas

A gunman with a ballistic vest strapped to his chest and a military-style rifle in his hands stormed into a Sunday church service at a small Baptist church in rural South Texas and sprayed bullets into its pews. He killed 26 people, including nine members of a single family, and left 20 people wounded, many of them severely.

Oct. 1, 2017: A concert in Las Vegas

In one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, a gunman perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, smashed the windows of his suite with a hammer and shot at a crowd of 22,000 people at an outdoor country music festival. Fifty-eight people were killed and 887 sustained documented injuries, either from gunfire or while running to safety.

June 12, 2016: The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

A gunman who had proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group attacked a crowded gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Fla., killing 50 people and wounding 53 others. After a three-hour standoff following the initial assault, law enforcement officials raided the club and fatally shot the gunman.

Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and the chairman of the committee, asked for a “moment of action” during the hearing on gun violence.
Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Senators quickly splintered along partisan lines over gun control measures on Tuesday as Democrats demanded action in the wake of two mass shootings in the past week and Republicans denounced their calls, highlighting the political divide that has fueled a decades-long cycle of inaction on gun violence.

At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was scheduled before shootings in Atlanta and Boulder that left at least 18 people dead, Democrats argued that the latest carnage left Congress no choice but to enact stricter policies. They lamented the grim pattern of anguish and outrage followed by partisanship and paralysis had become the norm following mass shootings.

“In addition to a moment of silence, I would like to ask for a moment of action,” said Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and the chairman of the committee. “A moment of real caring. A moment when we don’t allow others to do what we need to do. Prayer leaders have their important place in this, but we are Senate leaders. What are we doing?”

Even before the recent shootings, Democrats had already begun advancing stricter gun control measures that face long odds in the 50-50 Senate. House Democrats passed two bills this month aimed at expanding and strengthening background checks for gun buyers, by applying them to all gun buyers and extending the time the F.B.I. has to vet those flagged by the national instant check system.

But the twin pieces of legislation passed in the House have been deemed too expansive by most Republicans — only eight House Republicans voted to advance the universal background check legislation. The bills would almost certainly not muster the 60 votes needed to clear a filibuster in the Senate.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the panel, said in his opening remarks that he was hopeful Democrats and Republicans could work together to make “bipartisan, common-sense” progress on gun control. But he said that the House-passed legislation did not fit that bill, since the measures passed almost entirely along party lines.

“That is not a good sign that all voices and all perspectives are being considered,” Mr. Grassley said.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, went further, lashing out at Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who said that Republicans had offered “fig leaves” rather than actionable, significant solutions to gun control.

“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders,” Mr. Cruz said. “But what they propose — not only does it not reduce crime, it makes it worse.”

The renewed focus on gun control is expected to cast attention back on Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, who opposes dismantling the legislative filibuster but has long labored — fruitlessly — to pass a bipartisan gun control proposal. Following the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Mr. Manchin brokered a deal with Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, to close legal loopholes that allow people who purchase firearms at gun shows or on the internet to avoid background checks, but proponents were unable to pick up enough support to pass it.

Mr. Manchin told CQ Roll Call earlier this month that he opposed the House-passed universal background check bill, citing its provision requiring checks for sales between private citizens, but said he was interested in reviving the Manchin-Toomey legislation.

The scene outside a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., where police officers and paramedics responded to reports of a shooting on Monday.
Credit…Eliza Earle for The New York Times

Sarah Moonshadow was at the checkout at King Soopers with her son, buying food while waiting for her laundry to be done nearby, when she heard shots being fired.

“We ducked and I just started counting in between shots, and by the fourth shot I told my son, we have to run,” she said. As they were running, two shots were fired in their direction, she said.

When they made it out of the store, they saw a body lying in the road.

“I can tell that he wasn’t moving,” she said. “And so, I’m pretty sure he was gone. And I just broke down across the street. I just couldn’t believe we were able to make it across.”

Ms. Moonshadow moved back to Boulder, her hometown, from Denver after she became concerned about Denver becoming unsafe. “I’m really surprised that it even happened here,” she said. “This isn’t how Boulder is, you know. This isn’t what happens here.”

Taylor Shaver, who works at Art Cleaners, a dry cleaning and laundry business near the supermarket, said in an interview that she heard at least 10 gunshots and saw people running from the grocery store.

“I’m in the bathroom hiding,” Ms. Shaver said. “I heard this loud boom. I instantly knew. There was a ton of shots. My stomach dropped.”

Ms. Shaver, 18, added that it was particularly unnerving because it was her first day working alone at the dry cleaning business. During a phone interview, she said she had left the bathroom to see what was going outside the business.

“Oh my gosh, you can see all these people walking with their hands up,” she said. “I’ve never seen this many police officers in my life.”

Jordan Crumby, a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said in an interview that she was about to get a tattoo with the word “warning” on her hip at Auspicious Tattoo, a shop across from the grocery store, when the shooting began.

“From here, I can see the window that is shattered,” she said. “Everyone is still on lockdown.”

Ms. Crumby, 31, said she stepped outside to record a video for her Instagram feed, when the police waved her away. In the videos, officers with tactical gear and rifles could be seen swarming the shopping center. People from the grocery store, she said, were being evacuated.

“They had their hands over their heads and they’re getting escorted out,” she said. “I said, ‘We should probably go inside.’”

Logan Smith, working in the Starbucks kiosk in the store, told NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday morning that two of his co-workers were killed in the shooting. He still had not heard back from a third friend, he said.

“It’s harder even than it was yesterday, just thinking about the friends that I’ve lost,” he said.

Mr. Smith said he helped a co-worker hide in a corner with “some trash cans to cover her.” But he struggled to find cover himself, hiding behind another trash can but finding it “couldn’t really protect me,” he said.

“I was definitely in a life-threatening situation if the shooter came to the kiosk,” he said. He added that this was not his first experience at the company in the last year that an employee’s life was threatened, though he only described those occasions as “not as severe.”

“But because of those other events, it’s been in my head that something like this could happen,” he said.

A decorative star overlooking Boulder, Colo., on Flagstaff Mountain that is a fixture during the holiday season was lit on Monday night in honor of the 10 victims of the shooting at the King Soopers grocery store.

The Boulder Chamber, an organization that supports local businesses, announced the action on Twitter, saying, “We simply unite in our shared grief for the tragic taking of life from such a violent act and we send our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.”

Mayor Sam Weaver of Boulder urged residents to look at the star “in hope of a future in which these horrific events are a distant memory. And let us commit to making such a future a reality.”

The chamber said the star has marked every holiday season in the city for more than 70 years. It was first lit in 1947 and has shone out of season a year ago in support of efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the years, the star’s lights have been reconfigured for different occasions, including a No. 1 when the University of Colorado won a national championship in 1990 and a peace sign in the 1960s, according to 9News.

As vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr. met with law enforcement officials to discuss gun control measures at the White House in 2012.
Credit…Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

As president, Joseph R. Biden Jr. finds himself in a position distressingly similar to the one he confronted eight years ago as vice president: trying to figure out a way to stop mass shootings and meeting resistance from conservative gun owners and their political allies.

In 2020, gun control was given a prominent place on Mr. Biden’s campaign website, but it had been a back-burner concern for a new administration single-mindedly determined to address the pandemic and its economic damage.

That could change following the attacks in Atlanta and Boulder, and if so, Mr. Biden’s successes and failures over the past three decades on gun control are likely to inform how he confronts the crisis as president.

President Barack Obama chose not to act immediately following the massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, as many Democrats had hoped, by pushing for a quick vote on gun control legislation.

Instead, he delegated the task of coming up with a package of reforms to Mr. Biden, who had helped pass the landmark Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and a 10-year assault weapons ban in the 1990s when he served in the Senate.

From his earliest days in the administration. Mr. Biden pushed Mr. Obama to do more on guns, to little avail, his advisers later said. “Even before Newtown, the vice president had wanted the administration to push harder on the issue,” Bruce Reed, Mr. Biden’s chief of staff as vice president, and still a trusted adviser, told a reporter in 2015.

The decision to tap Mr. Biden irked many of Mr. Obama’s closest advisers: They thought he needed to personally push through a series of strong measures immediately, while emotions were high, to force lawmakers to cast votes of conscience.

Five weeks after the killings, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden announced 23 relatively modest executive actions, and called on Congress to pass three laws: universal background checks, a new assault weapons ban, and a prohibition on high-capacity gun clips.

Mr. Biden, consulting with his former colleagues in the Senate, decided the best course of action was to focus on only one element, the background checks, and persuaded progressives to settle for a limited but important initiative.

The strategy, and the bill, quickly failed.

“Eight years later, there have been plenty of thoughts and prayers, but we know that is not enough,” Mr. Biden said in December, marking the anniversary of Sandy Hook. “We will fight to end this scourge on our society and enact common sense reforms that are supported by a majority of Americans and that will save countless lives.”

Mr. Biden’s proposals, listed on his website, are strikingly similar to the reforms he proposed as vice president.

White House aides are considering a number of executive actions, including one that would impose background checks for buyers of homemade firearms that lack serial numbers, a proposal to close a loophole that allows a gun to be transferred from licensed gun dealers before a completed background check, and various plans to keep guns away from people suffering from mental illness.

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