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Boulder police identify victims, suspect in Monday's mass shooting at King Soopers

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Boulder Shooting
Posted at 3:13 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 13:44:40-04

BOULDER, Colo. — On Tuesday morning, the Boulder Police Department identified the 10 people killed in Monday's mass shooting at a King Soopers. The police chief also named the 21-year-old suspect, who is in custody.

Boulder Police Department Chief Herold said dozens of agencies are investigating the shooting. The Boulder County Coroner's Office worked overnight to identify all of the victims and notify next of kin, she said. By 2 a.m., they had all been identified.

Herold identified the victims as:

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

Herold said the suspect was taken into custody at 3:28 p.m. Monday. There is no motive for the crimes as of now, she said.

He has been identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, of Arvada, Herold said. He is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and is being held at a hospital for a leg injury. He will be moved to the Boulder County Jail afterward, likely later Tuesday, said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty. He said authorities believe Alissa was the only suspect involved.

According to court documents released today, Alissa purchased the Ruger AR-556 pistol used in the attack on March 16. The arrest affidavit states the suspect surrendered to SWAT officers and asked to speak with his mother as he was being arrested.

President Joe Biden has directed that all flags be flown at half staff in honor of the victims. He also commended the “exceptional bravery” of Officer Eric Talley, the Boulder police officer who was among those killed in the shooting. Talley was among the first to respond to 911 calls, and officials said his actions saved lives.

On the subject of gun control, Biden called on the Senate to “immediately” pass legislation that would attempt to close loopholes in the gun background check system following the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 10 people at a Kings Soopers in Boulder.

Just last week, Boulder County District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that the city cannot enforce a ban on semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity magazines because under state law, local governments cannot prohibit the possession or sale of firearms, according to the Associated Press.

Boulder’s assault weapon ban includes certain pistols and semi-automatic rifles with pistol grips, folding or telescoping stocks, or protruding grips that allow firearms to be stabilized with the non-trigger hand. The city defined large-capacity magazines as “any ammunition-feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.”

The ordinance set violations punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

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When speaking this morning Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said she lives only a few blocks from the store and feels numb.

"It's heartbreaking to talk to victims, their families," she said. "You know, it's tragic."

Gov. Jared Polis, who also attended the press conference, said he, like many others, has shopped at that King Soopers throughout his life.

"My heart aches today, and I think all of ours does — as Coloradans, as Americans, for the senselessness, tragedy, loss of life," he said. "A simple run for milk and eggs, getting ready to shop, in a regular way... something we can all identify with led to a complete tragedy."

He said he offers his condolences to everybody impacted by the shooting.

"This is a loss for all of us," Polis said. "We mourn those who fell as a state. And we mourn them as a nation."

He said this feeling of loss will endure in the community and it's difficult to see that light in the darkness.

"We all need space to mourn, space to be angry... space to help those left behind, space to ask the simple question why, space to help the people who made it out of the grocery store... space to celebrate the 10 lives that were lost yesterday," he said. "And we need the fortitude to carry on."

Polis emphasized that the state will hold the suspect responsible to the full extent of the law.

Congressman Joe Neguse, who also spoke at the press conference Tuesday morning, said the efforts of law enforcement at both the local and federal level have been strong throughout the tragedy.

"We are heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken, for the pain and anguish so many in our community and across our state are feeling today," he said. "Ten lives lost — 10 neighbors, brothers, sisters, colleagues, community members."
"We all need space to mourn, space to be angry... space to help those left behind, space to ask the simple question why, space to help the people who made it out of the grocery store... space to celebrate the 10 lives that were lost yesterday," he said. "And we need the fortitude to carry on."

Polis emphasized that the state will hold the suspect responsible to the full extent of the law.

Congressman Joe Neguse, who also spoke at the press conference Tuesday morning, said the efforts of law enforcement at both the local and federal level have been strong throughout the tragedy.

"We are heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken, for the pain and anguish so many in our community and across our state are feeling today," he said. "Ten lives lost — 10 neighbors, brothers, sisters, colleagues, community members."

He called for a change, saying we've lost "way too many lives."

"We should be able to feel safe in our schools, in our movie theaters, and in our communities," Neguse said.

Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver said the residents feel the loss in their bones, some more than others.

He said there will be a day to repair the damage, but Tuesday was a day to remember, appreciate and honor the lives of those killed in the shooting.

Boulder County DA Dougherty said the victims were engaged in something everybody does — a simple trip to the grocery store. And it turned out to be their last day on Earth, he said.

He promised to do all he can to help and ensure the killer is held fully accountable for what he said.

"Why did this happen? We don't have the answer to that just yet," he said. "What I can tell you today is that Boulder and Colorado is giving its very best to the response of what happened."

Acting US Attorney Matt Kirsch said the investigation is underway and that all involved agencies are working and cooperating together.

Recap of Monday's mass shooting at Boulder King Soopers

The Boulder Police Department first received the 911 calls about an active shooter at the King Soopers in Boulder, which is on Table Mesa Drive, around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said Officer Eric Talley, 51, was the first to respond to the scene and was shot and killed. He joined the force when he was 40 years old and had seven children. No other officers were injured, Herold said.

"He loved this community," Herold said. "He's everything policing deserves and needs. He cared about Boulder, the Boulder Police Department, and he cared about his family. And he was willing to die to protect others. And that gets lost in translation."

She said she had recently had Boulder Police Officer Talley's entire family in her officer to give his son an award for saving a life. Talley had taught his whole family CPR and when one of his sons swallowed a quarter, another son performed CPR and saved his brother's life.

Click here to donate to the Boulder County Injured & Fallen Officer Fund, which benefits Boulder County law enforcement members who become seriously injured or killed in the line-of-duty, as well as surviving family members.

Witnesses who were inside at the time described the experience as “horrifying.”

Andrew Hummel said he was inside when he heard a loud bang and everybody started to run. He was able to escape, but didn’t know if his friend, who was working at the King Soopers at the time, had escaped yet. He said his friend texted him saying, “I love you guys. Thank you for everything in case things go bad.”

“That was a really hard text, especially me being in this situation,” Hummel said. “That was something I would never want to hear from any of my friends. Because I knew the seriousness of what was going on. It was horrifying. It was truly horrifying.”

His friend was also able to get out of the store.

Andy Arellano, an employee at the King Soopers location, said he first thought of his family.

"I was just hearing (the gun shots) and I was just thinking of my family," he said. “My heart was racing. I’ve never had this kind of situation before, you know? … It’s going to probably be in my head for a long time no matter what. Just hearing the shots, it’s just gonna bring it back. It’s not going to go away, though. It’s always going to stay there.”

Many Colorado leaders issued statements about the shooting expressing their sadness and sympathy for the victims and those affected.

Gov. Jared Polis said the community is anxiously awaiting more information, but knowing that we all mourn the senseless killing.

“This year we have all been surrounded by loss of life, illness and isolation, and the deep grief that has accompanied the loss of life as we knew it,” he said. “As spring sprung this weekend, and vaccines continue to get into arms, lightness creeped back in only for the darkness to descend on us again today. Today we saw the face of evil. I am grieving with my community and all Coloradans.”

Anybody with information, video or photos should submit it to police. You can do so by clicking here or by calling the Boulder Police Department at 303-441-3333. The FBI has also set up a tip line — 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) — and the public can also submit tips to the FBI online here.