Victims, suspect identified in Boulder mass shooting
‘This is a pain that we need to sit with,’ Gov. Polis says as mourning, investigations begin
Health care workers walk out of a King Sooper’s Grocery store after a gunman opened fire on March 22, 2021, in Boulder. Dozens of police responded to the afternoon shooting reports. (Chet Strange/Getty Images)
Law enforcement officials on Tuesday morning released the identities of the 10 people killed in Monday’s mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers, along with the name of the suspect, as state and local leaders sought to comfort the community after Colorado’s latest high-profile incident of deadly gun violence.
“It has been a devastating 24 hours for Boulder and for our state,” Rep. Joe Neguse, whose 2nd Congressional District includes Boulder County, said at a press conference with other officials on Tuesday. “We are heartbroken, absolutely broken, for the pain and the anguish that so many in our community and across our state are feeling today.”
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“Ten lives lost,” an emotional Neguse continued. “Ten friends, neighbors, sisters, brothers, parents, colleagues, community members. Families that are grieving today, woke up today without their loved ones.”
Gov. Jared Polis, a Boulder resident “for most of my life,” said he had often shopped at the Table Mesa King Soopers where the shooting occurred, and described the frantic efforts made by people in the community on Monday to make sure that their loved ones were safe.
“My heart aches today, and I think all of ours does, as Coloradans, as Americans, for this senseless tragedy and loss of life,” Polis said. “Boulder County is a small community. We’re all looking over the list — do we know anybody?”
The victims identified by police on Tuesday are:
- Denny Stong, 20
- Neven Stanisic, 23
- Rikki Olds, 25
- Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
- Suzanne Fountain, 59
- Teri Leiker, 51
- Eric Talley, 51
- Kevin Mahoney, 61
- Lynn Murray, 62
- Jody Waters, 65
Talley, an officer with the Boulder Police Department, was previously identified as a victim by police officials on Monday night. Officials said that he was the first officer to respond to reports of a shooting, shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday, and called his actions “heroic.”
“I can tell you that he’s a very kind man, and he didn’t have to go into policing,” said Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at Tuesday’s press conference. “He had a profession before this, but he felt a higher calling. And he loved this community, and he’s everything that policing deserves and needs.”
Police identified the suspect as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, of Arvada. As of Tuesday morning, he remained in the hospital undergoing treatment for his injuries. He has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree and is expected be transported to the Boulder County Jail to be booked later today, officials said.
The King Soopers location where the shooting occurred was serving as a COVID-19 vaccination site, and eyewitnesses reported that people waiting in the store’s pharmacy section for their vaccine were among the victims. Neguse said that Monday’s violence was especially painful as grocery stores have remained “one of our consistent gathering places, one of the few routine activities that we’ve continued to engage in” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s hard to describe what it means for this safe place to see a horrible tragedy like this unfold,” Neguse said. “There’s a lot that we don’t know, there’s a lot still unfolding from yesterday’s events. But let me simply say this: This cannot be our new normal.”
“This is a pain that we need to sit with,” Polis said. “We can’t ever let ourselves become numb to the pain. Because we simply can’t let this be accepted as anything close to a normal occurrence.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:43 a.m. on March 23, 2021, to correct the spelling of Denny Stong’s name.
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