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Suspect In Colorado Shooting Charged With 10 Counts Of First-Degree Murder

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The story of yesterday's mass shooting in Colorado begins with the names of those involved. We've known for some hours now the name of one of the 10 people shot and killed at a grocery store in Boulder, Eric Talley, a police officer who responded, a father of seven. Today, police have given a name - sorry, a little upset by the father of seven. Police have given a name and some information about a suspect captured on the scene. Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus is here. Ben, what are you learning?

BEN MARKUS, BYLINE: Frankly, the details are scarce. The authorities have released the name of the shooter, as you said, Ahmad Alissa. They've charged him with 10 counts of first-degree murder. We know that he's 21 years old. There is no motive known at this time we're being shared with the media.

INSKEEP: Yeah. There was controversy after a mass shooting last week in which the suspect stated a motive, which people doubted. And this is one of those cases where motives can be very unclear. What more is being learned about the people who were killed?

MARKUS: So we know that their ages ranged from 20 to 65. They read the names at the press conference. And we're working right now to work out backgrounds on everyone. We do know that at least one of the victims was an employee at the King Soopers grocery store. One of the victims, of course, is Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. He had been on the force for about 10 years. And he was praised by police commanders for his bravery. He was the first to respond. He had seven children, ranging from 7 years old to 20 years old. And he had, in fact, started on - in his career in law enforcement when he was 40 years old, his dad saying he just wanted to make a difference.

INSKEEP: Wow. Now, in earlier reports, we have heard something of a timeline, that the shooting began something before 3 p.m. where you are, that it did last for a period of time before police gained control of the suspect. In this press conference, are you learning any more about how the attack unfolded, what the objective was, anything?

MARKUS: No. The details are frustratingly scarce. Now, witnesses tell me that around 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time yesterday is when they heard what sounded like were fireworks. But they quickly realized that it was something worse than that when they saw people running through the parking lot. A citizen journalist who was at the scene was livestreaming. We saw images of bodies on the outside, near the entrance of the store and right as you walk into the store. At that time, police were telling us six people had died. And then they updated that number late last night to 10 people.

INSKEEP: Ben, we're at this point of trying to make sense of what is senseless. But there have been a number of very high-profile mass shootings in Colorado over the years. How are people trying to connect these events, make sense of them if they can?

MARKUS: Well, that's a great question. I think there is a lot of soul searching right now as to what is going on in the suburbs of Denver. These are rare events, relatively. And so it's not clear if what is driving them. There is investment in mental health. There have been some gun control laws passed at the state legislature. But nothing that appears to get at the root cause of this problem.

INSKEEP: Ben Markus of Colorado Public Radio with information about a 21-year-old man who's now been identified as the suspect in yesterday's mass shooting. Ben, thanks so much.

MARKUS: Thank you, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.