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Obama to honor Navy Yard shooting victims

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-09-19 06:27

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service Sunday to honor the victims of Monday's shooting rampage at Washington Navy Yard, a White House spokesman said on Wednesday.

"I think the president will want to mourn the loss of these innocent victims and share in the nation's pain in the aftermath of another senseless mass shooting," said White House spokesman Jay Carney at a daily briefing.

The shooting rampage occurred on Monday morning inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard that serves as the headquarters of the Naval Sea System Command. A total of 13 people was killed, including a suspect later identified by the FBI as 34- year-old navy contractor employee Aaron Alexis.

Before delivering a speech on economy Monday afternoon, Obama condemned the mass shooting as a "cowardly act" and vowed to investigate the incident thoroughly and to hold those whoever carried out the shooting responsible.

A day after the shooting, Obama called on Congress to act on gun legislation, saying that the "overwhelming majority" of Americans agreed with him on the common-sense firearms reform.

"I do get concerned that this becomes a ritual that we go through every three or four months where we have these horrific mass shootings, yet we are not willing to take some basic actions that we know can make difference," said Obama in an interview with Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network.

Gun control is one of Obama's second-term priorities. The Obama administration has tried for months earlier this year to build momentum for gun control reform at the national level, including inviting parents of the victims in last year's Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting to lobby for the measures.

However, key measures of a comprehensive gun control package, including banning assault weapons and expanding background checks for gun purchasers, were defeated in the Senate, dealing a major blow to gun control efforts led by the president.

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