Boulder King Soopers shooting: 10 killed including police officer
BOULDER, Colo. - Ten people were killed, including one police officer who was the first to respond to the scene, in a shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo. Monday. Police said a 21-year-old suspect has been detained and charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
Boulder police Chief Maris Herold announced the death toll at a news conference Monday night, fighting back tears.
"I want to say our hearts of this community go out to the victims of this horrific incident," said Herold. The officer who was killed was Eric Talley, 51, who had been with Boulder police since 2010, Herold said.
"He served in numerous roles supporting the Boulder Police Department and the community of Boulder," Herold said.
The Boulder Police Department pinned a tweet on their profile honoring Talley.
"Rest in peace Officer Eric Talley. Your service will never be forgotten," the department wrote.
RELATED: Eric Talley, officer killed in King Soopers shooting, honored with procession through Boulder
"This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County, and in response, we have cooperation and assistance from local, state and federal authorities," said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty.
Herold said Tuesday in a morning briefing that all of the victims have now been identified, and read their names and ages. The victims ranged in age from 20 to 65.
Herold identified the suspect as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa from Arvada, Colo.
The suspect was getting medical treatment and there was no further threat to the public, authorities said. Officers had escorted a shirtless man with blood running down his leg out of the store in handcuffs but authorities would not say if he was the suspect.
RELATED: Boulder King Soopers shooting: 21-year-old man charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder
What happened at the Boulder King Soopers shooting?
The shooting unfolded the afternoon of Monday, March 22 at a crowded King Soopers supermarket in southern Boulder, sending terrorized shoppers and workers scrambling for safety. The attack stunned a state and a nation that has grieved several mass killings.
Hundreds of police officers from throughout the Denver metropolitan area responded to the attack. SWAT officers carrying ballistic shields slowly approached the store as others quickly escorted frightened people away from the building, some of its windows shattered. Customers and employees fled through a back loading dock to safety. Others took refuge in nearby shops.
Police engaged in a shootout with the suspect inside the supermarket, which is when an officer who responded to the scene was killed — later identified as 51-year-old Eric Talley.
Officers later escorted a shirtless man in handcuffs, blood running down his leg, from the store during the siege. Authorities would not say at the time if he was the suspect.
Who are the victims of the Boulder King Soopers shooting?
Authorities identified the nine victims after previously identifying Talley, the Boulder police officer who was killed.
The victims ranged in age from 20 to 65, said Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold.
Police read the names aloud at a news conference Tuesday: Denny Strong, 20, Neven Stanisic, 23, Rikki Olds, 25, Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Suzanne Fountain, 59, Teri Leiker, 51, Officer Eric Talley, 51, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.
Talley had been with Boulder police since 2010. He was the first to arrive after responding to a call about shots fired and someone carrying a rifle, officials said.
"He was by all accounts one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut too short," Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said during a press conference.
A tearful Chief Herold late Monday said he had "served in numerous roles supporting the Boulder Police Department and the community of Boulder." Friends described Talley as a family man, FOX 31 Denver reported.
Who is the suspect of the King Soopers shooting?
Police on Tuesday identified a 21-year-old man as the suspect in the mass shooting, named Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa from Arvada, Colo.
Officials said he had lived most of his life in the U.S. He was undergoing treatment at a hospital and was expected to be booked into the county jail later Tuesday, Dougherty said.
Investigators don’t know yet why the suspect opened fire inside the grocery store. Dougherty said the investigation is in the early stages but that detectives believe the suspect was the only shooter, Dougherty said.
A law enforcement official briefed on the shooting told The Associated Press that the gunman used an AR-15 rifle, a lightweight semi-automatic rifle. Officials were working fast to trace the gun. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said the suspect has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
What was the response?
Matthew Kirsch, the acting U.S. attorney for Colorado, pledged that "the full weight of federal law enforcement" will support the investigation. He said investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the crime scene, along with FBI agents.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, meanwhile, said in a statement that "Today we saw the face of evil. I am grieving with my community and all Coloradans."
The King Soopers chain said in a statement that it was offering prayers and support "to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation."
Multiple Colorado police agencies responded to the "active shooter" situation Monday afternoon. "Active Shooter at the King Soopers on Table Mesa. AVOID THE AREA. PIO is en-route," police tweeted at approximately 2:50 p.m. local time.
More than an hour after their initial tweet, the Boulder Police Department tweeted a thread with updates from the scene, "Please avoid the area of Table Mesa & Broadway! This is still a very active scene. Do NOT broadcast on social media any tactical information you might see."
"We will continue to tweet updates as we have them. If you live nearby please stay inside for now," police continued.
At 5:10 p.m. local time, Boulder police tweeted an emergency notification asking people near 17th and Grove roughly 3 miles away from the shooting to "shelter in place," although police confirmed at the press conference they believed the alert was unrelated to the supermarket shooting and that there was "no ongoing threat."
Ahead of Monday's press briefing by police, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting.
"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," Psaki wrote.
A witness interviewed on the scene by FOX 31 Denver told the local station that he was picking up pizza when he heard what sounded like "five or six gunshots" and the sound of glass breaking inside the store. Daniel Douglas said he saw a suspect with an "AR-15, I think, and he just started shooting."
Another witness told FOX 31 Denver that they heard what they believed to be fireworks as they were checking out at the supermarket and saw a person in the parking lot wearing "tactical gear" carrying an "AR-15 style weapon." The witness said he warned other shoppers inside the store and fled to a nearby fire station, according to the local news station.
A third witness told FOX 31 journalist Shaul Turner he was on his way to pick up coffee when he saw the shooting unfolding.
"I was in shock initially when we realized what was happening and once I called my mom and said I was OK and let her know what was happening, it all kind of sunk in and I started panicking," he said.
Another man, Dean Schiller, told FOX 31 Denver that he was outside the King Soopers store when he heard what he thought were "heavy caliber" rounds going off. Schiller said he believed he saw "at least three" victims, but a number of casualties had not been confirmed by police.
Aerial footage from FOX 31 Denver showed police escorting a shirtless man wearing shorts in handcuffs with a bloody leg through the parking lot. The identity of the man was not immediately clear, but he was transported to a local hospital, according to the local news station.
Police also surrounded a vehicle in the parking lot with what they initially believed was a person inside, before it was reportedly discovered that the vehicle’s occupant was a large dog, according to FOX 31 Denver.
Footage from FOX 31 showed police and emergency medical workers handing out blankets as multiple people — some who appeared to be crying and consoling others — could be seen sitting outside speaking to law enforcement officers.
Kevin Daly, owner of Under the Sun Eatery and Pizzeria Restaurant a block or so from the supermarket, said he was in his shop when he saw police cars arriving and shoppers running from the grocery store. He said he took in several people to keep them warm, and others boarded a bus provided by Boulder police and were taken away.
In earlier video from the scene, police could be heard calling out to a suspect over a megaphone. "This is the Boulder Police Department. The entire building is surrounded. I need you to surrender now," police said.
Aerial video from FOX 31 Denver showed first responders gathered outside the supermarket, with multiple ambulances standing by in the parking lot. At least three medical helicopters were on the scene, according to FOX 31 Denver.
Police vehicles lined the streets of the block surrounding the King Soopers store, and an armored police vehicle could be seen from the air in the grocery store’s parking lot. A tactical team made its way to the store’s entrance and SWAT team members positioned themselves around the building.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that their SWAT team was sent to the scene to assist Boulder police. Colorado University Boulder police also tweeted about the shooting, warning people to stay away from the area.
At approximately 4:21 p.m. local time, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tweeted that the agency was responding to the scene.
"ATF is responding to the active shooter investigation in Boulder, CO. For more information & updates please contact @boulderpolice" the ATF wrote.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted amid the chaos, calling the situation a "tragedy" and saying he was "closely watching."
"Like my fellow Coloradans, I am closely watching unfolding events at King Soopers in Boulder," Polis tweeted. "My prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy."
The attack was the seventh mass killing this year in the U.S., following the March 16 shooting that left eight people dead at three Atlanta-area massage businesses, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.
It follows a lull in mass killings during the pandemic in 2020, which had the smallest number of such attacks in more than a decade, according to the database, which tracks mass killings defined as four or more dead, not including the shooter.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed