Police stand outside a King Soopers grocery store where a shooting took place, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Police stand outside a King Soopers grocery store where a shooting took place, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Boulder supermarket shooter ID’d as 21-year-old man

The victims ranged in age from 20 to 65, said Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold

Police on Tuesday identified a 21-year-old man as the suspect who opened fire inside a crowded Colorado supermarket in an attack that killed 10 people, including an officer, and sent terrorized shoppers and employees scrambling for cover.

Authorities said Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was from the Denver suburb of Arvada and that he engaged in a shootout with police Monday afternoon inside the Boulder store. The suspect was being treated at a hospital and was expected to be booked into the county jail later in the day on murder charges.

Investigators have not established a motive, but authorities believe he was the only shooter, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.

A law enforcement official briefed on the shooting told The Associated Press that the gunman used an AR-15 rifle, a lightweight semiautomatic rifle. Officials were trying to trace the weapon. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

The suspect’s family told investigators they believed Alissa was suffering some type of mental illness, including delusions. Relatives described times when Alissa told them people were following or chasing him, which they said may have contributed to the violence, the official told AP.

The attack was the nation’s deadliest mass shooting since a 2019 assault on a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman killed 22 people in a rampage that police said targeted Mexicans.

Hundreds of police from throughout the Denver area responded to the attack, converging on a King Soopers supermarket in a busy shopping plaza.

SWAT officers carrying ballistic shields slowly approached the store as others escorted frightened people away from the building, which had some of its windows shattered. Customers and employees fled through a back loading dock to safety. Others took refuge in nearby shops.

“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” Dougherty said. “These were people going about their day, doing their shopping. I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice.”

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold identified the slain officer as Eric Talley, 51, who had been with the force since 2010. He was the first to arrive after responding to a call about shots fired and someone carrying a rifle, she said.

“He was by all accounts one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut too short,” Dougherty said.

Dozens of police and emergency vehicles, their lights flashing, escorted an ambulance carrying the slain officer from the shooting scene after nightfall. Some residents stood along the route, their arms raised in salute.

The other dead ranged in age from 20 to 65. They were identified as Denny Strong, 20 Neven Stanisic, 23 Rikki Olds, 25 Tralona Bartkowiak, 49 Suzanne Fountain, 59 Teri Leiker, 51 Kevin Mahoney, 61 Lynn Murray, 62 and Jodi Waters, 65.

The attack in Boulder, about 25 miles (40 kilometres) northwest of Denver and home to the University of Colorado, stunned a state that has seen several mass shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and the 2012 Aurora movie theatre shooting.

Monday’s attack was the seventh mass killing this year in the U.S., following the March 16 shooting that left eight people dead at three Atlanta-area massage businesses, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.

It follows a lull in mass killings during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, which had the smallest number of such attacks in eight years, according to the database, which tracks mass killings defined as four or more dead, not including the shooter.

Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat whose district includes Boulder, said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning” that “enough is enough” when it comes to political impasses that keep gun control laws from passing Congress.

“The time for inaction is over. It does not have to be this way. There are commonsense gun legislation reform proposals that have been debated in Congress for far too long,” Neguse said. “The gun lobby and so many others have stopped the ability to make meaningful reforms in the past, but that’s no excuse. I think the American people are tired of excuses.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. House stands with gun violence victims who say “enough is enough.”

“Action is needed now to prevent this scourge from continuing to ravage our communities,” she said in a statement Tuesday in which she cited House passage of two background checks bills. Those bills are now pending before the Senate.

“While we await further information on the details of this heinous crime, we continue to stand with victims, families and young people across the country saying, `Enough is enough.”’

VIDEO: Colorado shooting leaves 10 dead in latest mass tragedy

Sarah Moonshadow and her son, Nicolas Edwards, had just bought strawberries inside the supermarket when they heard gunfire. Moonshadow told The Denver Post they ducked and “just ran.” Outside, Edwards said, arriving police pulled up next to a body in the parking lot.

“I knew we couldn’t do anything for the guy,” he said. “We had to go.”

Video posted on YouTube showed one person on the floor inside the store and two more outside on the ground. What sounds like two gunshots are heard at the beginning of the video.

Investigators had just started sorting through the crime scene and conducting witness interviews, Dougherty said.

Matthew Kirsch, the acting U.S. attorney for Colorado, pledged that “the full weight of federal law enforcement” would support the investigation. He said investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the crime scene, along with FBI agents.

President Joe Biden announced that flags nationwide would be lowered in memory of the victims — an order that comes just as a previous flag-lowering proclamation expired for those killed in the Atlanta-area shootings. Together the two orders mean near-continuous national mourning for almost two weeks.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement that the state had seen “the face of evil.”

The King Soopers chain said in a statement that it was offering prayers and support “to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation.”

___

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington and Colleen Slevin and Jim Anderson in Denver contributed. Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

___

Patty Nieberg And Thomas Peipert, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Mass shootingsUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest as reservations open

Green Point Campground is scheduled to open from May 1 – Oct. 12 this year.

Kale is a classic in West Coast gardens.
COLUMN: Kale reigns supreme in West Coast gardens

In Tofino and Ucluelet, kale is a classic.

(B.C. Government photo)
POLL QUESTION: Are you in favour of B.C.’s three-week ban on in-restaurant dining?

Dr. Bonnie Henry called the three week stoppage a “circuit breaker”

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Theatre manager Sophie L’Homme is ecstatic to share the news that Tofino’s aging Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre is finally getting upgrades. (Nora O’Malley photo)
BC Arts grant funding breathes new life into Tofino’s community theatre

“Once it’s done, it’s going to be a pride of the town.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read