At least 10 people, including a police officer, are dead after a gunman opened fire at a Boulder grocery store on Monday, officials said in a press conference shortly before 8:30 p.m. Police have a suspect in custody and say that there is no ongoing threat to the public.
“Our hearts in this community go out to the victims of this horrific incident,” said Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold. “I want to reassure the community that they are safe, and that we will try to do our best over the next few hours to identify the victims.”
Among the 10 fatalities at the scene was Officer Eric Talley, who had been with the Boulder Police Department since 2010. Herold called his actions “heroic.”
“Officer Talley responded to the scene, was the first on the scene, and he was fatally shot,” Herold said.
In a statement, Gov. Jared Polis urged patience as law enforcement officers work to secure the scene and conduct their investigation.
“My heart is breaking as we watch this unspeakable event unfold in our Boulder community,” Polis, a Boulder resident, said. “I’m incredibly grateful to the brave men and women who have responded to the scene to help the victims of this senseless tragedy.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter: “The President has been briefed on the shooting in Colorado and he will be kept up to date by his team as there are additional developments.”
Emergency crews first responded to reports of a shooting shortly after 2:30 p.m., according to the Camera, at a King Soopers in south Boulder.
Around the same time, Dean Schiller, a local videographer who said he had just exited the store, began livestreaming from the scene on YouTube. Schiller’s livestream showed what appeared to be multiple victims lying on the ground inside and outside the store, and also captured the sound of several additional gunshots being fired from within the store.
Several minutes later, police began arriving on scene. Just after 3:30 p.m., TV cameras captured footage of a man being led out of the store in handcuffs by police and transported away from the scene in an ambulance.
“There is no ongoing public threat,” Kerry Yamaguchi, a commander with the Boulder Police Department said in a prior briefing Monday evening. “We do have a person of interest in custody. That person was injured during the incident, and is being treated for the injuries.”
Yamaguchi said that the suspect’s injury is the only “serious injury” that police are aware of. He and other officials repeatedly said they could not provide additional information about the suspect or a possible motive.
“It’s a very early stage in the investigation,” Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said at Monday night’s press conference. “We’ll be doing everything we can to fight for (the victims) and their families to make sure that we reach the right and just outcome.”
Monday’s shooting came just days after a district court judge ruled that an assault-weapons ban enacted by Boulder City Council in 2018 was invalid under a state preemption law that prohibits local governments from regulating firearms.
“The Court has determined that only Colorado state (or federal) law can prohibit the possession, sale and transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines,” Boulder County District Court Judge Andrew Hartman wrote in his ruling.
HEY @JudyAmabileHD13 @EdieHooton @SteveFenberg ASKING AGAIN IF YOU WILL BE TAKING THE NECESSARY STEPS TO REGULATE ASSAULT WEAPONS SINCE YOU WON'T CHANGE THE LAW TO LET BOULDER DO IT OURSELVES. https://t.co/2wrQnfssne
— Rachel Friend (@rachelkfriend) March 22, 2021
In an all-caps statement posted to Twitter Monday evening, Boulder City Council member Rachel Friend addressed state lawmakers representing the area, including Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, asking whether they “will be taking the necessary steps to regulate assault weapons since you won’t change the law to let Boulder do it ourselves.”
Boulder County state representatives released a joint statement with House Speaker Alec Garnett, a Denver lawmaker who was raised in Boulder, saying that they were “heartbroken and enraged” by the day’s events.
“As we wait for more details to emerge, we at least know this much: gun violence is an epidemic that has stolen far too many sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and loved ones from families across Colorado,” the statement read. “We must continue our fight to reduce gun violence and save lives. Inaction is not an option.”
Monday’s violence was the 102nd mass shooting in the United States in 2021, according to Gun Violence Archive, an independent research group. The archive defines “mass shooting” as an incident in which at least four people were shot, not including the shooter.
“No doubt we will get through this as a community. But tonight there’s going to be a lot of pain for a lot of people,” Fenberg wrote on Twitter. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have thoughts or prayers to offer; mostly anger.”
Editor’s note: This story was updates at 8:43 p.m., March 22, 2021, to include new information released by Boulder Police, including the number of fatalities and the identity of Officer Eric Talley.