Aug. 30 (UPI) — A gunman armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun who killed two people at an Oregon Safeway before turning one of the weapons on himself bought his firearms legally, authorities said Tuesday as they continue to try and piece together a motive.

The police department in the small central Oregon city of Bend had been working with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine how the suspect, identified as 20-year-old Ethan Blair Miller, who shot up the grocery store Sunday night, had access to firearms.

In a release Tuesday, the Bend Police Department said it was determined that “[t]he suspect obtained his three firearms legally and purchased them himself.”

The shooting began about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities said Tuesday that further investigations show the shooting started with Miller firing rounds into his 1997 Ford F-250 pickup truck that was parked in the parking lot of the Fox Hollow Apartments, which backed up against the Forum Shopping Center in east Bend where the Safeway was located.

The gunman then continued to fire shots as he made his way through the shopping center’s parking lot and into the Safeway where he fatally shot 84-year-old Glenn Edward Bennett at the entrance.

Police previously said that a Safeway employee, 66-year-old Donald Ray Surrett Jr., potentially saved lives by attacking Miller in an attempt to disarm him before also being fatally shot in the produce section at the back of the store.

On Tuesday, the Bend Police Department offered further information about the confrontation.

Video surveillance shows that Surrett had time to vacate the store on hearing gunshots but instead hid himself behind a produce cart.

“When the suspect approached, Surrett waited for the suspect to look away, then attacked the suspect with a produce knife he kept on his hip,” the police said. “The suspect shot and killed Surrett, then ended his own life as officers entered the building.”

Police found Miller dead with the assault rifle and shotgun by his side.

Video surveillance also shows that after Bennett was shot, two unidentified members of the community re-entered the store and pulled him out of the building where he was attended to by medics and officers, the department said Tuesday.

Bennett was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“Bend Police are extremely thankful to our community members for the efforts they made during this incident,” the police force said.

The ongoing investigation into the shooting has recovered more than 100 shell casings across the three crime scenes of the apartment complex where Miller lived, the Forum Shopping Center and the interior of the Safeway, police revealed Tuesday.

Police also confirmed Tuesday that Miller had worked for a short time at the Safeway and, along with the two firearms, was armed with four magazines of 30 rounds of ammunition for his AR-15 when he was killed.

Authorities have previously stated that a search warrant executed on the suspect’s residence produced additional ammunition and digital devices and one on his car uncovered three Molotov cocktails and a sawed-off shotgun.

On Tuesday, police specified that 25 shotgun shells were found in the suspect’s apartment and 150 rounds of 5.56 ammunition and a box of 25 more shotgun shells were also found in his vehicle.

“At this time, law enforcement remains on scene at Safeway. Bend Police expects to limit its investigative area to the grocery store, allowing the adjacent parking lot to reopen,” it said.

The shooting continues spiking instances of gun violence in the United States while following several high-profile shootings, including at grocery stores.

On May 14, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, armed with a similar assault rifle, is accused of killing 10 people in a racially motivated shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket.

On March 22 of last year, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, also armed with an AR-15 rifle, killed 10 people at a Boulder, Colo., supermarket.

It also follows 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, armed with an AR-15-style rifle, killing 19 children and two adults at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school on May 24.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said that he seeks to ban assault rifles as he promoted his Safe America Plan.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tallies gun violence in the United States, the nation has seen 450 mass shootings so far this year, making 2022 the third time since the organization has been keeping count of such shootings to surpass that threshold and the third time in three years.

The organization defines a mass shooting as an incident where there have been “a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter.”

As of early August, there have also been 11,900 gun deaths this year, the organization said.

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