That night, she and her husband slept in their cellar. The commander curled up next to the wounded soldier on the kitchen floor.

When Ms. Kozyr stepped outside the next morning, to check on her calf and pigs, she passed by the kitchen and peered through the window.

The soldier’s hands were curled, his body stiff. He was dead.

She started crying at the memory of it, pulling a small rag out of her pocket and wiping her eyes. But she did not question the counteroffensive.

“It needed to be done,” she said. And then she repeated herself, a little more softly. “It needed to be done.”

Oleksandra Mykolyshyn and Oleksandr Chubko contributed reporting from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Pokrovsk, Ukraine.

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Republican A.G. Push Visa, Mastercard, AmEx Not To Track Gun Sales

By Associated Press
September 20, 2022

The payment networks said they would adopt the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant code for gun store sales.

A group of Republican attorneys general are pushing the major payment networks — Visa, Mastercard and American Express — to drop their plans to start tracking sales at gun stores, arguing the plans could infringe on consumer privacy and push legal gun sales out of the mainstream financial network.

The letter comes more than a week after the payment networks said they would adopt the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant code for sales at gun stores. The merchant code would categorize sales at gun stores not unlike how payment networks categorize sales at airlines, restaurants, and department stores.

In their letter, the AGs threaten to use all legal tools at their disposal to stop the payment networks from tracking gun sales.

“Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike,” the letter said.

In recent weeks gun control advocates argued that separately categorizing gun store sales could potentially flag a surge of suspicious sales activity to public safety officials. They have used the example from the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, where the shooter purchased $26,000 worth of ammunition ahead of the massacre.

But the Second Amendment lobby and its advocates have argued that the merchant code would do a poor job of tracking potential red flags and could unfairly flag legal gun purchases. A sale of a gun safe worth thousands of dollars would be categorized as a gun store sale just as much as someone buying thousands of dollars worth of ammunition, for example.

The payment networks said when they adopted the policy that they are just following the guidance from ISO. It will be largely up to the banks who issue the credit and debit cards to decide whether they want to stop sales under certain merchant codes.

The CEOs of the major banks will appear in front of Congress on Wednesday and Thursday this week, and they are almost certainly to be asked questions on the gun store sales tracking controversy.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Officials: 8 Injured In Chicago Apartment Building Explosion

By Associated Press
September 20, 2022

The explosion at the three-story, 36-unit apartment building in the South Austin neighborhood occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m., officials said.

At least six people were rushed to hospitals after being injured when an explosion Tuesday tore through the top floor of a Chicago apartment building, officials said.

The explosion at the three-story, 36-unit apartment building in the South Austin neighborhood occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m., officials said. At least 10 ambulances were on the scene, according to the Chicago Fire Department, which requested help searching the structure.

“Requesting manpower for searches in structure,” the department tweeted.

Photographs and video posted on the Chicago Fire Department’s twitter page shows that much of the top floor of the four-story brick apartment building on the city’s West Side was destroyed by the blast. Scores of bricks and other debris had fallen onto the street, crushing at least one car and seriously damaging two others.

Several people who lived in the building said they were home when the explosion rocked the entire building.

“I was asleep, and all of a sudden there was a loud booming,” Lawrence Lewis, who was asleep at the time, told WGN television. “I woke up to my windows gone, my front door blown open. I just saw smoke, and I ran out of the house. I was asleep. I’m shook up right now.”

No cause of the explosion had been determined. The department said in a series of tweets that the Chicago police bomb squad and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on their way as well.

The Fire Department said conditions of three victims range from serious to critical.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Swedish Program Aims To Fight High Youth Suicide Rate In Montana

In Montana, the youth suicide rate between 2011 and 2020 was more than double the national rate for the same age group.

Montana is known for its wide open spaces, craggy mountains and fresh, clear water. 

But for all its beauty, it’s also known for a devastating epidemic.  

The youth suicide rate in Montana between 2011 and 2020 was more than double the national rate for the same age group.  

The reasons behind the statistic are a complicated, cultural issue. A March 2022 report released by the state cites vitamin D deficiencies, altitude, social isolation and access to firearms as just a few of the reasons. It also shows 1 in 5 Montana kids live more than 100% below the federal poverty line. And the state has a high concentration of American Indians, who experience higher rates of suicide.    

Kelley Edwards is the program director for Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) at Montana State University’s Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery. She knows firsthand what teen suicide can do to a community.  

“I lived it. My co-workers lived it. My students lived it,” she said.

Edwards used to teach high school in Helena, Montana, where seven students in her school died by suicide in a three-year span.  

“It will never leave me what that was like,” Edwards said. 

Helena High School administrators knew something needed to happen, and they found the solution in Sweden, which is home to Youth Aware of Mental Health.  

“Helena School District was instrumental in bringing YAM to the United States, because they recognized the seriousness of the problem and wanted to do something about it,” Edwards said. 

YAM started in 2014 with the goal of bringing down teen suicide rates. 

A randomly-controlled trial with 11,000 participants showed it reduced suicide ideation and attempts by about 50%. New cases of depression fell by about 30% in kids participating.   

The program is in 16 countries and its trainers are traveling the world to expand even more. 

Edwards is a program manager and also teaches it.  

“I’ve had kids say right after a session either, ‘I’m really, really depressed,’ or possibly, even, they’ve said, ‘I’m suicidal.’ And they are. They’ve said, ‘I’m really, really worried about a friend,'” Edwards shared.

Designed for kids between 13 and 18 years old, the program consists of five five-hour sessions over three weeks, which dive into mental health literacy, role playing and identifying stressors and resources.  

“We need to get to the point where our students are comfortable with mental health knowledge, and what to do when your normal coping skills are not working or where it gets too severe that you would need professional help,” Edwards said.

But as Edwards knows, that’s not easy in rural places, like her native Montana — especially now.   

“I grew up in Denton, Montana. For students in rural areas that may not have access to anything … The best that we can provide at this point is starting with just having someone to talk to,” Edwards said. “It’s not ideal by any means. But that is where we’re at, unfortunately.”

Mary Windecker runs the advocacy group Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana. She, and so many other mental health professionals, are taking their concerns to state and federal leaders. They’re trying to get more attention and funding on this issue.    

“Overall in the United States, we’re failing our children. That’s true by every metric you could possibly measure,” Windecker said. 

And beyond Montana, people in the field of mental health are working to do what they can to help the next generation before it’s too late.

Newsy’s mental health initiative “America’s Breakdown: Confronting Our Mental Health Crisis” brings you deeply personal and thoughtfully told stories on the state of mental health care in the U.S. Click here to learn more.

Source: newsy.com

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Visa To Start Categorizing Gun Shop Sales Separately

Visa’s adoption is significant as the largest payment network, and will likely add pressure for Mastercard and American Express to adopt the code.

Payment processor Visa Inc. said late Saturday that it plans to start separately categorizing sales at gun shops.

It’s a major win for gun control advocates who say it will help better track suspicious surges of gun sales that could be a prelude to a mass shooting. But gun rights advocates have argued that step would unfairly segregate legal gun sales when most sales do not lead to mass shootings.

Visa said it would adopt the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant code for gun sales, which was announced on Friday. Until Friday, gun store sales were considered “general merchandise.”

“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules,” the payment processor said in a statement.

Visa’s adoption is significant as the largest payment network, and will likely add pressure for Mastercard and American Express to adopt the code as well.

Gun control advocates had gotten significant wins on this front in recent weeks. New York City officials and pension funds had pressured the ISO and banks to adopt this code.

Two of the country’s largest public pension funds, in California and New York, are pressing the country’s largest credit card firms to establish sales codes specifically for firearm-related sales that could flag suspicious purchases or more easily trace how guns and ammo are sold.

Merchant Category Codes now exist for almost every kind of purchase, including those made at supermarkets, clothing stores, coffee shops and many other retailers.

“When you buy an airline ticket or pay for your groceries, your credit card company has a special code for those retailers. It’s just common sense that we have the same policies in place for gun and ammunition stores,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain who blames the proliferation of guns for his city’s deadly violence.

The city’s comptroller, Brad Lander, said it made moral and financial sense as a tool to push back against gun violence.

“Unfortunately, the credit card companies have failed to support this simple, practical, potentially lifesaving tool. The time has come for them to do so,” Lander said recently, before Visa’s announcement.

Landers is a trustee of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System — which together own 667,200 shares in American Express valued at approximately $92.49 million; 1.1 million shares in MasterCard valued at approximately $347.59 million; and 1.85 million shares in Visa valued at approximately $363.86 million.

In letters to the companies, the New York pensions funds, joined by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, sought support for such a move, saying the companies have a responsibility to prohibit the use of their networks for what public officials deemed illegal activity.

“Failing to do so can result in regulatory, reputational, and litigation risks that may harm long-term shareholder value,” the letters asserted.

Over the years, public pension funds have used their extensive investment portfolios to influence public policy and the market place.

The California teacher’s fund, the second largest pension fund in the country, has long taken aim on the gun industry. It has divested its holdings from gun manufacturers and has sought to persuade some retailers from selling guns.

Four years ago, the teacher’s fund made guns a key initiative. It called for background checks and called on retailers “monitor irregularities at the point of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory on a regular basis, and to proactively assist law enforcement.”

The pension funds argue that creating a merchant category code for standalone firearm and ammunition stores could aid in the battle against gun violence.

In letters to the credit card companies, a pattern of purchases could flag suspicious activity.

Officials said that a week before the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people died after a shooter opened fire in 2016, the assailant used credit cards to purchase more than $26,000 worth of guns and ammunition, including purchases at a stand-alone gun retailer.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Police Arrest Memphis Man In Livestreamed Shootings; 4 Dead

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
September 8, 2022

Records show the suspect is a felon who was released early from a prison term for aggravated assault.

A gunman who livestreamed himself driving around Memphis shooting at people, killing four and wounding three others in seemingly random attacks, was finally arrested after crashing a stolen car, police said early Thursday.

The hourslong rampage had police warning people across the city to shelter in place, locking down a baseball stadium and university campuses and suspending public bus services as frightened residents wondered where the man might strike next.

The suspect, Ezekiel Kelly, 19, a violent felon who was released early from prison this year, was taken into custody at around 9 p.m. in the Memphis neighborhood of Whitehaven, police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said.

Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said during a news conference early Thursday that four people were killed and three others were wounded in seven shootings and at least two carjackings.

The first killing was at 12:56 a.m. Wednesday, and officers responded to three more crime scenes before receiving a tip at 6:12 p.m. that the suspect was livestreaming himself threatening to cause harm to citizens, Davis said.

Police then sent out an alert warning people to be on the lookout for an armed and dangerous man responsible for multiple shootings and reportedly recording his actions on Facebook.

Three more shootings and two carjackings followed. Police said he killed a woman in Memphis as he took her gray Toyota SUV, which he left behind when he stole a man’s Dodge Challenger across the state line in Southaven, Mississippi.

Kelly was arrested without incident two hours after the initial police alert when he crashed the Challenger during a high-speed chase, and two guns were found in the vehicle, Davis said.

As the shooter terrorized the city, buses stopped running and the Memphis Redbirds cleared the field during their minor-league baseball game. Friends and relatives frantically called and texted each other and TV stations cut into regular coverage with updates.

Police received “numerous tips” from the public during the ordeal, Davis said.

The University of Memphis sent a message to students saying a shooting had been reported near the campus. Rhodes College, which is about 4 miles away from the university, advised students on and off campus to shelter in place.

The area where Kelly was arrested was about 11 miles from the University of Memphis and about 12 miles from Rhodes College.

“If you do not have to be out, stay indoors until this is resolved,” Memphis police said on Twitter, before the arrest.

Police did not discuss a motive or release the identities of those who were killed or wounded. It was too early in the investigation to discuss how the suspect got the gun or guns used in the shootings, said Ali Roberts, acting assistant special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Memphis.

Memphis has been shaken by several high-profile killings in recent weeks, including the shooting of a pastor during a daylight carjacking in her driveway, the shooting of an activist during an argument over money, and the slaying of a jogger abducted during her pre-dawn run.

“I understand it feels like so much violence and evil to experience in such a short time,” Memphis City Council member Chase Carlisle said on Twitter. “We are SO much more than this.”

In February 2020, Kelly, then 17, was charged as an adult with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, using a firearm to commit a dangerous felony and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, court records show.

Records show he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced in April 2021 to three years. Kelly was released from prison in March, 11 months after he was sentenced, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

“This is no way for us to live and it is not acceptable,” the mayor said. “If Mr. Kelly served his full three-year sentence, he would still be in prison today and four of our fellow citizens would still be alive.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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New York To Restrict Gun Carrying After Supreme Court Ruling

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
August 31, 2022

The new law that goes into effect Thursday bans guns in areas deemed “sensitive,” and requires extensive training for concealed carry applicants.

Amid the bright lights and electronic billboards across New York’s Times Square, city authorities are posting new signs proclaiming the bustling crossroads a “Gun Free Zone.”

The sprawling Manhattan tourist attraction is one of scores of “sensitive” places — including parks, churches and theaters — that will be off limits for guns under a sweeping new state law going into effect Thursday. The measure, passed after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June expanded gun rights, also sets stringent standards for issuing concealed carry permits.

New York is among a half-dozen states that had key provisions of its gun laws invalidated by the high court because of a requirement for applicants to prove they had “proper cause” for a permit. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday that she and her fellow Democrats in the state Legislature took action the next week because the ruling “destroyed the ability for a governor to be able to protect her citizens from people who carry concealed weapons anywhere they choose.”

The quickly adopted law, however, has led to confusion and court challenges from gun owners who say it improperly limits their constitutional rights.

“They seem to be designed less towards addressing gun violence and more towards simply preventing people from getting guns — even if those people are law-abiding, upstanding citizens, who according to the Supreme Court have the rights to have them,” said Jonathan Corbett, a Brooklyn attorney and permit applicant who is one of several people challenging the law in court.

Under the law, applicants for a concealed carry permit will have to complete 16 hours of classroom training and two hours of live-fire exercises. Ordinary citizens would be prohibited from bringing guns to schools, churches, subways, theaters and amusement parks — among other places deemed “sensitive” by authorities.

Applicants also will have to provide a list of social media accounts for the past three years as part of a “character and conduct” review. The requirement was added because shooters have sometimes dropped hints of violence online before they opened fire on people.

Sheriffs in some upstate counties said the additional work for their investigators could add to existing backlogs in processing applications.

In Rochester, Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said it currently takes two to four hours to perform a pistol permit background check on a “clean” candidate. He estimates the new law will add another one to three hours for each permit. The county has about 600 pending pistol permits.

In the Mohawk Valley, Fulton County Sheriff Richard C. Giardino had questions on how the digital sleuthing would proceed.

“It says three years worth of your social media. We’re not going to print out three years of social media posts by everybody. If you look at my Facebook, I send out six or 10 things a day,” said the sheriff, a former district attorney and judge.

The list of prohibited spaces for carrying guns has drawn criticism from advocates who say it’s so extensive it will make it difficult for people with permits to move about in public. People carrying a gun could go into private business only with permission, such as a sign posted on the window.

Giardino has already started giving out signs to local businesses saying people can carry legal firearms on the premises. Jennifer Elson, who owns the Let’s Twist Again Diner in Amsterdam, said she put up the sheriff’s sign, along with one of her own reading in part “per our governor, we have to post this nonsense. If you are a law abiding citizen who obtained a legal permit to carry, you are welcome here.”

“I feel pretty strongly that everybody’s constitutional rights should be protected,” she said.

But in Times Square, visited by about 50 million tourists annually, and many less crowded places carrying a gun will be illegal starting Thursday.

One lawsuit challenging provisions of the law argued the rules make it hard for license holders to leave home without violating the law. A federal judge is expected to rule soon on a motion challenging multiple provisions of the law, which was filed on behalf of a Schenectady resident who holds a license to carry.

While New York does not keep statewide data on pistol permit applications, there are reports of long lines at county clerks’ offices and other evidence of a surge in applications before the law takes effect.

In the Mohawk Valley, Pine Tree Rifle Club President Paul Catucci said interest in the club’s volunteer-run safety courses “blew right up” late this summer.

“I had to turn hundreds of them away,” he said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Biden Defends FBI, Pushes Assault-Style Weapons Ban

The speech Tuesday continued President Joe Biden’s aggressive rhetoric against the GOP ahead of the midterms in November.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday railed against the “MAGA Republicans in Congress” who have refused to condemn the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol and now are targeting the FBI as he tried to portray Democrats as the true pro-law enforcement party ahead of the November midterms.

In remarks initially billed as a crime-prevention speech, President Biden seized on comments from allies of former President Donald Trump who have called for stripping funding from the FBI since it executed a search warrant at Trump’s Florida residence. President Biden’s remarks were the first substantive defense he has made of the FBI since the Aug. 8 search at Mar-a-Lago, which triggered not just withering criticism of the agency but threats of violence against its employees.

“It’s sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI, threatening the life of law enforcement and their families, for simply carrying out the law and doing their job,” President Biden said before a crowd of more than 500 at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. “I’m opposed to defunding the police; I’m also opposed to defunding the FBI.”

It was a notably different tack for President Biden, who has steered clear of extensively commenting on any element of the Justice Department’s investigation since federal agents conducted the search at Trump’s estate. President Biden also appeared to call out — without naming him — recent comments from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who warned of “riots in the streets” should Trump ultimately face prosecution.

“The idea you turn on a television and see senior senators and congressmen saying, ‘If such and such happens there’ll be blood on the street’?” President Biden said. “Where the hell are we?”

The speech Tuesday continued President Biden’s aggressive rhetoric against the GOP ahead of the midterms, as Democrats enjoy a slightly brighter political environment buoyed by significant legislative accomplishments and a presidential approval rating that has trended slightly upward. During a political rally in the Washington suburbs last week, President Biden likened Republican ideology to “semi-fascism.” He is set to deliver a democracy-focused speech on Thursday in Philadelphia that the White House has said “will make clear” who is fighting for democratic values.

As he has done before, President Biden on Tuesday criticized GOP officials who have refused to denounce the pro-Trump rioters who breached the U.S. Capitol nearly 20 months ago. Referencing Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, President Biden said, “Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress: Don’t tell me you support the law enforcement if you won’t condemn what happened on the 6th.”

The campaign-style speech near President Biden’s birthplace was the first of three visits by the president in less than a week to the state that is home to a competitive governor’s race and a U.S. Senate contest that could help determine whether Democrats will keep their majority in the chamber. Trump is hosting his own rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Democrats believe Pennsylvania is their strongest opportunity to flip a Senate seat currently held by Republicans. Meanwhile, the open race for governor will give the winner power over how 2024’s presidential election is run in a battleground state that is still buffeted by Trump’s baseless claims that Democrats fraudulently stole the 2020 election from him.

President Biden’s comments on the FBI come as his son Hunter faces a federal investigation for tax evasion. He has not faced any charges, and he’s previously denied wrongdoing.

The president also used his remarks Tuesday to promote his administration’s crime-prevention efforts and to continue to pressure Congress to revive a long-expired federal ban on assault-style weapons. Democrats and Republicans worked together in a rare effort to pass gun safety legislation earlier this year after massacres in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. They were the first significant firearm restrictions approved by Congress in nearly three decades, but President Biden has repeatedly said more needs to be done.

“We beat the NRA. We took them on and beat the NRA straight up. You have no idea how intimidating they are to elected officials,” an animated President Biden said. “We’re not stopping here. I’m determined to ban assault weapons in this country! Determined. I did it once before. And I’ll do it again.”

As a U.S. senator, President Biden played a leading role in temporarily banning assault-style weapons, including firearms similar to the AR-15 that have exploded in popularity in recent years, and he wants to put the law back into place. President Biden argued that there was no rationale for such weapons “outside of a war zone” and noted that parents of the young victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde had to supply DNA because the weapon used in the massacre rendered the bodies unidentifiable.

“DNA, to say that’s my baby!” President Biden said. “What the hell is the matter with us?”

Democrats are trying to blunt Republican efforts to use concern about crime to their advantage in the midterms. It’s a particularly fraught issue in Pennsylvania, a key swing state.

The Republican candidate for governor, Doug Mastriano, accuses Democrat Josh Shapiro of being soft on crime as the state’s twice-elected attorney general, saying Shapiro “stands aside” as homicides rise across Pennsylvania.

Homicides have been increasing in Pennsylvania, but overall crime seems to have fallen over the last year, according to state statistics.

“The real heroes here are the people who put on the uniform every single day,” said Shapiro, who spoke shortly before President Biden’s remarks at Wilkes University. “We know that policing is a noble profession, and we know that we need to stand with law enforcement.”

In the U.S. Senate race, heart surgeon turned television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee, has tried to portray the Democratic candidate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, as extreme and reckless on crime policy.

Fetterman has endorsed recommendations that more geriatric and rehabilitated prisoners can be released from state prisons without harming public safety. Oz and Republicans have distorted that into the claim that Fetterman wants to release “dangerous criminals” from prisons or that he’s in favor of “emptying prisons.”

Fetterman’s campaign on Tuesday released a new 30-second ad emphasizing that Fetterman — as mayor of the tiny, impoverished western Pennsylvania steel town of Braddock from 2006 through 2018 — has dealt with street-level crime, and Oz hasn’t. In the ad, Fetterman said he ran for mayor “to stop the violence” after two of his students in an after-school program were murdered and “I worked side by side with police.”

Fetterman was not in Wilkes-Barre with President Biden on Tuesday, but he’s expected to march in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade when the president visits Sept. 5. President Biden also will be in Pennsylvania on Thursday for a prime-time speech that the White House said will address “the continued battle for the soul of the nation” and defending democracy.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Police: Heroic Safeway Employee Confronted Gunman In Store

Police hailed 66-year-old Donald Ray Surrett Jr. as a hero for attempting to disarm the gunman and possibly saving lives in the supermarket.

A Safeway employee who previously served in the U.S. Army for two decades attacked a gunman in the produce section of the Bend, Oregon, supermarket, police said Monday, possibly preventing more casualties from a shooting that left the employee and one other person dead.

Police hailed the employee, 66-year-old Donald Ray Surrett Jr., of Bend, as a hero and said his actions may have saved shoppers at the store in the high-desert city ringed by mountains in the central part of the state. Customer Glenn Edward Bennett, 84, of Bend, was also killed Sunday evening, police spokeswoman Sheila Miller said.

“Mr. Surrett engaged with the shooter, attempted to disarm him and may very well have prevented further deaths. Mr. Surrett acted heroically during this terrible incident,” Miller said at a news conference as she struggled against tears.

Police said Monday the shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; his body was found by police near an AR-15-style weapon and a shotgun. Police identified the gunman as Ethan Blair Miller, 20, of Bend.

The gunman lived in an apartment complex behind The Forum Shopping Center. Witnesses said he began shooting Sunday evening as soon as he left the complex and continued firing as he entered the shopping complex’s parking lot and then went into the Safeway.

Bennett was killed at the store’s entrance, police said, and the shooter then moved through the aisles “spraying shots” from the assault rifle until Surrett confronted him. The entire incident — from the first 911 calls to officers discovering the suspect dead in the store — unfolded in four minutes, Miller said.

Police entered the supermarket from the front and rear as shots were still being fired.

Debora Jean Surrett, the ex-wife of the Safeway employee killed in the attack, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that Surrett served in the Army for 20 years as a combat engineer.

He wasn’t deployed to active combat zones, but during the 20 years they were married from 1975 to 1995, they were stationed in Germany three times and lived on military bases across the U.S.

“They’re trained to be the first ones to go into war and the last ones to come home,” she told the AP.

Authorities later found three Molotov cocktails and a sawed-off shotgun in the shooter’s car. The Oregon State Police bomb squad was called in to sweep the store, the car and the suspect’s apartment for explosives, authorities said, forcing the evacuation of eight surrounding apartments on Monday morning.

Miller said reports that there was a second shooter were not true.

Authorities are seeking a search warrant to comb through online materials on an unspecified number of digital devices they found at the shooter’s apartment but declined to comment on reports that the suspect posted his plans online in advance. Bend police are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine where the suspect got his weapons and if he did so legally, Miller said.

“We are aware that the shooter may have posted information online regarding his plan. We’re investigating this,” she said. “We have no evidence of previous threats or prior knowledge of the shooter. We received information about the shooter’s writings after the incident had taken place. And the shooter has no criminal history in the area.”

The shooter graduated from Mountain View High School in Bend in 2020, according to online records, and a former classmate remembered him as an extremely combative person who had few friends.

He was a huge fan of mixed martial arts and “tried to fight everyone at Mountain View and kept getting his (expletive) kicked and he just never learned,” said Isaac Thomas, who was suspended for a week as a freshman for fighting with the gunman. The gunman held onto a grudge from that fight and once threatened to shoot him, Thomas told AP.

“At one point he said he was going to shoot me and I was like, ‘Get over yourself’ because I didn’t think he had a gun, but I guess I was wrong,” Thomas said.

Thomas recalled running into the shooter in 2020 in the parking lot of the Safeway, where the gunman was gathering up carts as part of his job. He recognized him and threatened him again although several years had gone by, Thomas said.

“It was kind of crazy when I heard about it,” he said of the shooting. “But it makes sense that he chose Safeway because he worked there and he knew the layout.”

Oregon’s elected leaders reacted to the shooting Monday with pledges to fight for more gun control.

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement that the shooting was one of several in Oregon over the weekend and that “Oregonians deserve to be safe from gun violence.”

Oregon residents will vote in November on one of the strictest gun-control measures in the nation. If passed, Measure 114 would ban large capacity magazines over 10 rounds — except for current owners, law enforcement and the military — and require a permit to purchase any gun.

To qualify for a permit, an applicant would need to complete an approved firearm safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing and pass a criminal background check. The state police would create a firearms database.

Bend is a city of about 97,000 approximately 160 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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