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Boulder Police Release Update On Grocery Store Mass Shooter And Victims

Boulder, CO – Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold released the names of nine of the King Soopers mass shooting victims and the alleged gunman during a press conference on Tuesday morning.

The identity of the tenth victim, 51-year-old Boulder Police Department (BPD) Officer Eric Talley, was previously released in the wake of the shooting on Monday evening.

Chief Herold identified the alleged shooter as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.

His brother said Alissa is a deeply-disturbed man who is both paranoid and “very antisocial,” according to the Daily Beast.

Alissa received a “through-and-through” gunshot wound to the leg during the incident and is currently recovering at a local hospital, officials said during the press conference on Tuesday morning.

He was the only person shot during the incident at the supermarket who survived, according to police.

He will be booked into the Boulder County jail on 10 counts of first-degree murder as soon as he is released from the hospital, which could happen as early as Tuesday afternoon, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said during the press conference.

Dougherty said Alissa “has lived most of his life in the United States.”

According to Chief Herold, BPD was not previously familiar with the alleged gunman.

Police swarmed the multi-generational Alissa family home in Arvada in the wake of the attack, the suspect’s 34-year-old brother told the Daily Beast.

According to Alissa’s since-deleted Facebook page, he said he was born in Syria in 1999, and that he moved to the U.S. in 2002, the Daily Beast reported.

The accused gunman’s brother said he does not believe the mass shooting was intended to be “a political statement.”

“It’s mental illness,” he told the Daily Beast. “The guy used to get bullied a lot in high school. He was like an outgoing kid but after he went to high school and got bullied a lot, he started becoming anti-social.”

Court records show Alissa was previously convicted of assault charge for having punched a classmate in the head in 2017, the Daily Beast reported.

The classmate had allegedly “made fun of him and called him racial names” weeks prior to the incident, according to police.

In addition to Officer Talley, an 11-year BPD veteran, nine other victims were also slaughtered as the carnage unfolded at the supermarket on Monday afternoon.

Investigators removed the last body from the scene of the massacre at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Chief Herold identified the remaining nine victims as 20-year-old Denny Stong, 23-year-old Neven Stanisic, 25-year-old Rikki Olds, 49-year-old Tralona Bartkowiak, 59-year-old Suzanne Fountain, 51-year-old Teri Leiker, 61-year-old Kevin Mahoney, 62-year-old Lynn Murray, and 65-year-old Jody Waters.

Olds was an assistant front-end manager at the store, the Daily Mail reported.

Leiker had worked at King Soopers for 30 years.

Dougherty said Officer Talley “died heroically” while trying to save others.

“He died charging into the line of fire to save people who were simply trying to live their lives and go food shopping,” the prosecutor told reporters. “And the man who gunned them down will be held fully responsible.”

The attack occurred at the King Soopers 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 encountered 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.

Chief Herold later identified him as Officer 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.

Police told one another to take “head shots only” due to the fact the shooter was said to be wearing a ballistic vest, the Daily Mail reported.

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.”

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 shooter.

Fifty-four minutes passed from the time of the initial 911 call until the time Alissa was apprehended, KUSA reported.

Ten people were gunned down during the horrific attack, to include Officer Talley, Chief Herold told reporters.

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.”

Chief Herold said Officer Talley 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.”

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,” Dougherty told reporters 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.”

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 ranging in age from seven to 20, his father, Homer Talley, told KUSA.

Homer said his son handled 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 didn’t want to put his family through something like this,” the slain officer’s father told the Daily Mail.

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.

Officer Talley graduated from the Aurora Police Training Academy at the age of 40 after quitting his stable information technologies job in the wake of the death of a close friend who was killed in a DUI crash, the Daily Mail reported.

“I feel numb,” Chief Herold said on Tuesday morning. “It’s tragic. This officer had seven children…I can tell you that he’s a very kind man and he didn’t have to go into policing. He had a profession before this, but he felt a higher calling and he loved this community. He’s everything that policing deserves and needs.”

“He was willing to die to protect others,” she concluded.

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Avatar Written by Holly Matkin

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