Suspect in Colorado store shooting is charged with 10 counts of murder

The New York Times
Boulder, ColoradoWritten By: Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Jenny Gross © 2021 The New York Times CompanyUpdated: Mar 23, 2021, 09:23 PM IST

Law enforcement officers stand at the perimeter of a shooting site at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

The Boulder shooting came less than a week after a gunman shot and killed eight people

The Boulder police chief said Tuesday that a 21-year-old man from a Denver suburb had been charged with 10 counts of murder in the shooting Monday at a grocery store in Boulder that left 10 people dead.

Police Chief Maris Herold identified the suspect as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa of Arvada, a suburb of Denver about 20 miles from Boulder. Michael Dougherty, the district attorney in Boulder County, said he had “lived most of his life in the United States.” Herold said the suspect had been taken into custody with a leg injury but was in stable condition and was expected to be taken to jail later Tuesday.

Among the victims was Officer Eric Talley, 51, with the Boulder Police Department, who had responded to a “barrage” of 911 calls about the shooting, the chief said. Authorities identified the nine additional victims 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 Jody Waters, 65.

Herold said police officers had run into the King Sooper grocery store within minutes of the shooting and had shot at the suspect. No other officers were injured during the response, she said.

At the news conference, Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado said his heart ached after the shooting, adding, “The eyes of the nation are on Colorado.”

“Of course I’m standing here, not just as governor, but as someone who has called this community my home for most of my whole life and who has shopped at that King Soopers in Table Mesa many times across my life,” he said.

Herold said the coroner’s office had identified all of the victims and notified their families before 4 a.m.

Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., said that mass shootings could not be the “new normal.”

“In this year of separation due to COVID, of loss and of loneliness, grocery stores like King Soopers have been one of our consistent gathering places, one of the few routine activities that we’ve continued to engage in as Coloradans and as Americans,” he said. “It’s hard to describe what it means for this safe place to see a horrible tragedy like this unfold.”

A video streamed live from outside of the grocery store Monday had appeared to show a suspect — handcuffed, shirtless and with his right leg appearing to be covered in blood — being taken from the building by officers.

Employees and shoppers inside the grocery store described a harrowing scene.

“I thought I was going to die,” said Alex Arellano, 35, who was working in the store’s meat department when he heard a series of gunshots and saw people running toward an exit.

Talley had joined the department in 2010 and was the first to respond to the scene when reports of a gunman came in, police said.

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

The Boulder shooting came less than a week after a gunman shot and killed eight people — six of them women of Asian descent — at three spas in the Atlanta area. Until that shooting in Atlanta, it had been a year since there had been a large-scale shooting in a public place.