Tragic mass shooting: Why was King Soopers in Boulder, CO attacked?
Yesterday, a mass shooting occurred in a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, CO. The second mass shooting to make national headlines this week, ten people were shot & killed, including one police officer who exchanged fire with the suspect, currently in custody.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a resident of Arvada, CO, has just been charged with ten counts of first-degree murder after he opened fire at the King Soopers in Boulder. After a shooting exchange with the police, Alissa was taken in alive.
Officers also released the name of the ten people in King Soopers who lost their lives to this senseless killing. Per CNN, they are Denny Stong, 20, Neven Stanisic, 23, Rikki Olds, 25, Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Suzanne Fountain, 59, Teri Leiker, 51, Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, 51, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.
The first reports of an active shooter at the King Soopers in Boulder came from Boulder Police, who tweeted at 2:49 MT (4:49 ET) that an active shooter was in the area and advised the public to avoid the surrounding location.
The King Soopers was still an active crime scene two hours later, when Boulder police tweeted: “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 #BoulderShooting. We will continue to tweet updates as we have them. If you live nearby please stay inside for now.”
Helicopter footage from KMGH recorded both the police evacuating King Soopers shoppers from the crime scene, directing some to ambulances and the takedown of the suspect. At the time, it was unknown whether the man in custody was the shooter, and he had been photographed wearing nothing but his shorts.
So far, the motive for Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa’s actions remains unknown, including the reason he targeted a King Soopers. According to some reports, the reason he appeared in nothing but shorts was that Boulder police had stripped him of the tactical gear he’d been wearing, further suggesting the attack was premeditated. The Hill later reported he had an assault rifle & body armor during the attack.
Footage also showed Alissa was wounded in his right leg. Police led him to an ambulance where he was reportedly taken to the hospital and treated before being transferred to police custody.
A neighbor later told Boulder detectives that she knew Alissa had a handgun and had seen him “playing with a machine gun” two days before the shooting at King Soopers per The Hill.
Two shoppers later reported hearing the first gunshots in the store. A young man & woman reported hearing gunshots and banging sounds. The young man, Neven Sloan, later recalled: “I immediately sprinted over to her (the young woman) and we got out of here and pushed open the emergency door.” Meanwhile, CNN reported shoppers began calling 911.
Ryan Borowski detailed to CNN that he didn’t see the shooter at King Soopers, but when he saw terrified people running out of the store, he turned and joined them. “This feels like the safest spot in America”, he added. “But here, people got killed for getting a soda.”
Another witness, Andrew Hummel, described not realizing what the first gunshot was, telling CNN he thought it was a “shelf that fell over”. He explained: “Then, when I heard multiple gunshots, I knew it was something else.”
Per The Hill, another witness corroborated that the shooter was wearing tactical gear, stating they saw him carry “a green tactical vest, a rifle (possible AR-15), a semiautomatic handgun, a pair of jeans, and a dark-colored long-sleeved shirt. There was blood around the items.”
Pending background legislation
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer announced his plans to introduce legislation for nationwide background checks to the Senate floor. The Senate Judiciary Committee is also holding meetings today regarding proposals.
Per ABC13 News, it’s unclear whether any bills discussed in the committee will make it to the Chambers of Congress. They also said it was unclear if these alleged proposed bills have made a difference at the King Soopers shooting in Boulder or the Atlanta shooting last week.
However, CT Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a reported advocate for gun reform since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, expressed optimism that new gun legislation could pass, citing a Democrat-controlled Congress and a Democratic president who, per their written party platform & statements, are reported to favor gun control.
It’s still unclear whether any legislation will be passed in the wake of the King Soopers shooting in Boulder, whether it will become a law, or if it will be upheld by the courts. The Washington Post also reported the shooting at King Soopers in Boulder occurred after Colorado’s 2018 assault weapons ban was blocked by the courts.