Boulder shooting: Ten victims and suspect identified by police

UniqueThis 70 Mar 23
media captionPolice chief reads the names of 10 victims of the Colorado mass shooting

Authorities in Colorado have identified the 10 victims killed in a mass shooting inside a grocery store on Monday, as well as the alleged gunman.

The attack at a King Soopers in Boulder ended when police took the lone suspect into custody after exchanging fire.

Police have not confirmed a motive. The suspect faces 10 counts of murder.

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said the victims were between 20- and 65-years-old at a news conference on Tuesday.

Among the dead was 51-year-old Eric Talley, who was the first police officer to respond to the shooting.

The suspect has been named as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.

The grocery store is located in a busy shopping plaza in Boulder, a north-central Colorado city about 30 miles (50km) away from the state capital of Denver.

Police identified the 10 victims of the shooting in the early hours of Tuesday.

  • Denny Strong, 20
  • Neven Stanisic, 23
  • Rikki Olds, 25
  • Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
  • Suzanne Fountain, 59
  • Teri Leiker, 51
  • Eric Talley, 51
  • Kevin Mahoney, 61
  • Lynn Murray, 62
  • Jody Waters, 65

Chief Herold said the shooting had left her feeling "numb".

"I live three blocks up the street from that store," she said. "This is my community."

She added that her colleague who lost his life in the attack, Mr Talley, was "a very kind man" with seven children, ages five to 18.

"He cared about this community. He cared about the Boulder Police Department. He cared about his family and he was willing to die to protect others," she said.

Acting US attorney Michael Dougherty stressed the investigation was "in its early stages" but Mr Alissa was the only suspect involved.

He said Mr Alissa was from Arvada, Colorado, and had lived most of his life in the US.

Investigators are still working to determine a motive.

On Monday, authorities said the investigation would take "no less than five days to complete".

Mr Alissa is being held at a local hospital and is expected to be transported to the county jail later on Tuesday.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the attack happened "at a grocery store that could be any of our neighbourhood grocery stores".

"None of them expected that this would be their last day here on the planet," Mr Polis said of the victims.

"A simple run for milk and eggs... something we can all identify with, led to complete tragedy."

The incident began at about 14:30 local time (20:30 GMT) on Monday when the suspect entered the supermarket and began firing.

Shoppers and employees of the store said they had to dive for cover or run to safety as the shooting unfolded.

Some of the stand-off was captured on camera by a passer-by, showing victims near the grocery store.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionCustomers and employees fled the store when the shooting began
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionDozens of FBI and SWAT officers were deployed to the scene

"I don't know what's going on... I heard gunshots, someone's down," the cameraman shouts. "There's an active shooter, get away".

Gunshots can be heard as he runs away from the shop.

The video continues, with police arriving on the scene and surrounding the market.

media captionEmergency responders led people in the area to safety

The Boulder police department later warned people to avoid the area and told them not to "broadcast on social media any tactical information you might see".

"We were at the checkout, and shots just started going off," said Sarah Moonshadow, a customer caught up in the shooting with her son Nicholas.

image captionSarah Moonshadow, who was inside the store when shooting began, being comforted by two others outside the store

She told Reuters she had tried to help one of the victims lying on the pavement outside the store, but her son pulled her away saying "we have to go".

"I couldn't help anybody," she said.

Ryan Borowski, who was also inside the store, told CNN he could not believe what had happened in his town: "This feels like the safest spot in America, and I just nearly got killed for getting a soda and a bag of chips."

Eyewitnesses said the suspect was armed with a rifle. A police source told CNN it was an AR-15 style rifle, a semi-automatic gun that has been used in several mass shootings across the US.

Aerial footage later showed the suspected gunman handcuffed and shirtless, with an apparent injury to his leg, being put onto a stretcher for treatment.

Authorities did not name him as the suspect at the time and initially identified only their fallen police colleague, Eric Talley.

"The heroic action of this officer when he responded to the scene... phone calls of shots fired in the area and a phone call about a possible person with a patrol rifle," said Ms Herold, the police chief.

The supermarket shooting was the seventh mass killing so far this year following a lull in mass killings during the pandemic last year, according to a database compiled by the Associated Press (AP), USA Today and Northeastern University. The database defines mass killings as four or more dead.

It has already led to renewed calls for tighter gun controls in the US, a starkly divisive issue that has seen little in the way of change over the years despite hundreds of mass shootings.

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a gun control advocate who was seriously injured in a mass shooting in 2011, said: "It's been 10 years and countless communities have faced something similar... this is not normal."

Today it's a tragedy in Boulder, Colorado. This past weekend it was a house party in Philadelphia. And last week it was an armed attack on Asian American women in the Atlanta area. It doesn't have to be this way. It’s beyond time for our leaders to take action.

— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) March 23, 2021
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Responding to the news, US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on Twitter: "This Senate must and will move forward on legislation to help stop the epidemic of gun violence."

Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters it was "tragic". "Ten people who were going about their day, living their lives, not bothering anybody. A police officer who was performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism."

President Joe Biden, who has been briefed about the attack, is expected to address the tragedy on Tuesday.

The president said last month he would be recommending tougher legislation to ensure background checks on anyone wishing to purchase a firearm.

Freshman Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, a staunch defender of gun rights, tweeted that she was "praying for the police, first responders, and those affected by this tragedy".

In a statement, former President Barack Obama said he and Michelle "grieve with the families of the victims" while calling for gun control.

"We should be able to live our lives without wondering if the next trip outside our home could be our last," he added. "We should. But in America, we can't."

The right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the US constitution and is staunchly defended by many conservatives, including ex-president Donald Trump.

The state of Colorado has seen a number of mass shootings over the last few decades, including the 1999 Columbine High School attack that left 12 students and a teacher dead and the 2012 attack at a cinema in Aurora that killed 12 people.


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