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

Emergency crews in Chilliwack were called to a report of a vehicle down an embankment at Chipmunk Creek on April 18, 2021, at about 4 p.m. (Google Maps)
Chilliwack emergency crews respond to vehicle down embankment at Chipmunk Creek

Search and Rescue join other responders to report of person trapped in vehicle for hours

Alisa Gusakova was one of two Grade 12 Chilliwack students who received a $5,000 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship earlier this year. Now, a fundraiser has been created for the teen after her mother was killed. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fundraiser launched for daughter of Chilliwack woman killed

Money raised will help Chilliwack teen attend UFV to earn business degree

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Agassiz Fire Department has been called to an ATV rollover on Harrison East Forest Service Road on Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Google Maps)
Agassiz Fire called out to ATV rollover incident on Harrison FSR

Morning call follows exceptionally busy Saturday as temperatures soar in Fraser Valley

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Most Read