Boulder, CO – Ten people were gunned down inside a King Soopers grocery store on Monday afternoon, including a veteran Boulder police officer.
The attack occurred at the supermarket located at 3600 Mesa Drive, with the first 911 call coming in to the police dispatch center at about 2:32 p.m. on March 22, KUSA reported.
“Alright, it looks like we have an active shooter,” the dispatcher told officers over the radio.
Police arriving at the scene encountred shooting victims before they’d even entered the building, the audio recordings showed.
“Party down. In front of the store,” one officer radioed. “Does not match the shooter description… possibly two parties down.”
The dispatcher notified the officers that “multiple calls” were coming from inside the business from shoppers who were trapped inside the store and trying to hide.
“I’ve got another party down just inside the doors,” an officer alerted dispatch at 2:37 p.m. “The shooter is inside. He just shot at us twice.”
One minute later, another officer radioed that there was an “officer down” inside the store, which led to a “gunfight” between the shooter and police, according to the radio traffic recordings.
— Just Info (@JustInfoUS) March 22, 2021
Boulder Police Department (BPD) Chief Maris Herold later identified the wounded officer as BPD Officer Eric Talley.
“Multiple shots being fired at us… We’re taking multiple rounds,” one officer told dispatch. “So far, potentially one gunman, armed with a long gun, potentially near the back of the store.”
One officer said the gunman was wearing a tactical vest and appeared to be in his thirties.
Ryan Borowski said he was shopping for snacks when the gunfire erupted, USA Today reported.
He said the entire supermarket instantly went silent, similar to when a waiter drops a tray of dishes inside a restaurant.
Borowski said he ran to the back of the store by the time the third shot rang out, and that he never saw the victims or the shooter, according to USA Today.
“What I saw was a terrified face running toward me,” he recounted. “We all ran… I saw a lot of very wide eyes.”
A gunman shot and killed 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store, including 1 police officer.
The suspect was taken away in handcuffs and is in custody. This is the U.S.’ second deadly mass shooting in one week, after 8 people were killed in Atlanta-area spas. pic.twitter.com/HNZPwQtgrK
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 23, 2021
Another shopper said he was at “the front of a stampede” when the gunfire erupted, USA Today reported.
Police continued to notify dispatch about additional victims and said that some of the wounded would need to be airlifted from the scene.
As Officer Talley’s fellow officers tried to reach him, they also expressed concerns the shooter was using him as part of an ambush, according to radio traffic.
“I need to push in to that officer. He’s about 30 yards inside the store, down. We cannot get to him,” an officer said over the radio at 3:05 p.m. “We have no known location of the shooter. We think he might be setting up an ambush.”
SWAT teams and police with armored vehicles surrounded the building and ordered the shooter to surrender, USA Today reported.
“The entire building is surrounded,” an officer announced over a megaphone at one point. “You need to surrender. Come out with your hands up, unarmed.”
Additional officers made contact with the gunman at 3:20 p.m., according to radio traffic.
He was taken into custody and allegedly told police he was the only gunman.
Fifty-four minutes passed from the time of the initial 911 call until the time the shooter was apprehended, KUSA reported.
Ten people were gunned down during the horrific attack, to include Officer Talley, Chief Herold told reporters.
Chief Herold said Officer Talley, an 11-year veteran of the department, took “heroic action” when he arrived at the scene of the active shooting.
“Officer Talley responded to the scene – was the first on the scene – and he was fatally shot,” she said. “I also want to commend the heroic actions of the officers responding not only from Boulder PD, but from across the county and other parts of this region. These officers’ actions fell nothing short of being heroic.”
— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 23, 2021
Chief Herold said the investigation into the mass shooting will take at least five days to complete.
“My heart goes out to the victims,” she said, breaking into tears. “I’m grateful for the police officers that responded.”
BPD has not released the identity of the gunman, who was transported to the hospital after being wounded in the incident, USA Today reported.
He was the only person shot during the incident who survived, according to police.
The identities of the other nine victims were not released on Monday night.
The motive for the attack is unknown, and investigators are working to determine whether or not the gunman knew any of the victims or had any ties to the supermarket, USA Today reported.
“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said on Monday night. “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.”
Kroger, which owns the Denver-based King Soopers store, released a statement saying it was “horrified and deeply saddened by the senseless violence” that took place at the Boulder store, USA Today reported.
A line of emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers escorted Officer Talley’s body from the scene after nightfall.
Multiple citizens lined the route, with some saluting the procession as it passed by, USA Today reported.
Officer Talley leaves behind seven children, the oldest of whom is 20, his father, Homer Talley, told KUSA.
Homer said his son handed the active shooter situation exactly as he would have expected him to.
“[It] didn’t surprise me he was the first one there,” he told KUSA.
Homer said Officer Talley was working to become a drone operator because he believed it would be safer than being on the streets.
He said his son was a “prankster” who had “a great sense of humor,” KUSA reported.
“He loved his family more than anything,” Homer added.