Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, of Arvada, near Denver, is accused of opening fire on Monday afternoon at the King Soopers store in the college town of Boulder, killing people aged 20 to 65, authorities said .
Police took the suspect into custody in the store on Monday afternoon, less than an hour after panicked 911 callers informed dispatchers of the murders there.
Alissa, who at one point was shot in the leg on Monday, was sentenced to county jail on Tuesday after being treated in a hospital, authorities said. According to a Boulder County affidavit, officers described his wound as a “through and through” gunshot wound to the upper right thigh. It is not known who shot him, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said.
The motive for the Boulder murders – one of several mass shootings in the United States over the past week – is not immediately known, and the investigation will take a long time, authorities said. Still, investigators believe he was the only culprit, they said.
“I promise all of us here will work tirelessly … to make sure the killer is held absolutely and fully accountable for what he did,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said on Tuesday during a press conference in Boulder.
The suspect has “lived most of his life in the United States,” Dougherty said Tuesday, without giving details.
Witnesses describe terror and panic
The affidavit indicates that the Boulder Police 911 department received several calls. A caller told dispatchers that the gunman shot through a car window and chased a man down the street. Other callers stated that the gunman was wearing “an armored vest”.
Several callers said they were hiding in the store. Employees told dispatchers that they “saw the suspect shoot an elderly man in the parking lot. The suspect then approached the old man, stood over him and shot him several times. times, ”the affidavit states.
Student Anna Haynes was across the street in her apartment when she heard what turned out to be gunshots, then looked outside and “saw a body in the middle of the room. car park”.
“And a few seconds later, I saw people running out of the building; I heard screams; I heard people drive off in their cars, and it turned into chaos in just a few minutes, ”she said.
They and others gathered with employees in the back.
“I saw a lot of really big eyes. … The employees at the back of the house didn’t know what was going on, so we told them there was a gunman, and they told us where was the exit, “he told CNN on Tuesday.
Policeman and store manager among those killed
The slain officer, Talley, was one of the first to respond to the scene, according to Herold. Witnesses told dispatchers they said they saw the gunman shooting at police, according to the affidavit. Officers had exchanged gunshots with Alissa at the store, Herold said.
Officers wrote that Talley was on the ground and had to be dragged by SWAT officers, according to the affidavit. Officers reported Talley had a gunshot wound to the head.
Talley joined Boulder Police in 2010, she said.
Talley, a father of seven children aged 5 to 18, once worked in a different profession and “didn’t have to come into the police force, but he felt a higher calling,” Herold said on Tuesday.
“He cared about this community… and he was ready to die to protect others,” she said.
Olds, 25, of Lafayette, was in charge of the store’s front-end, his uncle, Bob Olds, told CNN.
She was a “strong, independent young woman” who was raised by her grandparents, said Bob Olds. “She was so energetic and charismatic and she was a shining light in this dark world,” he told CNN.
Olds and another victim were graduates of Boulder-area high schools, said Rob Anderson, superintendent of the Boulder Valley School District.
Olds graduated from Centaurus High School in 2013 and Denny Stong graduated from Fairview High School in 2019, according to Anderson’s statement.
“Several of the other victims were the parents of our graduates and given that this is a tight-knit community there will likely be many other ties to BVSD schools both among those killed and other victims, ”Anderson said.
What the authorities say happened
Police said they were called to the scene for gunfire around 2:40 p.m. (4:40 p.m. ET) Monday.
Ambulances and agents from several law enforcement agencies arrived at the store, which is part of a large mall with a two-story mall next to it.
In the scanner traffic, officers radioed that they were participating in a shootout. They reported being shot repeatedly at at least 3:21 p.m. local time.
A SWAT team responded to the scene, according to the affidavit. An officer says he saw the gunman walking back towards the SWAT team to be taken into custody. The shooter “took off all his clothes and was wearing only shorts”.
Alissa did not respond to police questions about other suspects, but did ask to speak to his mother, according to the affidavit.
The suspect was taken into custody at 3:28 p.m., Herold said. There was no indication of alcohol or drug use, according to the affidavit.
An AR-15 type pistol, modified with an arm splint, was used in the shooting, a high-level law enforcement source told CNN on condition of anonymity. A search of the suspect’s home revealed other weapons, the source said.
“A photograph of the items the man removed from the scene included a green tactical vest, rifle (possibly AR-15), semi-automatic handgun, jeans and a dark-colored long-sleeved shirt. there was a lot of blood around the items, ”the affidavit states.
Calls to action against gun violence
In the wake of the three March 16 spa shootings in Atlanta, the latest attack has stoked calls to action and expressions of fear.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Tuesday that he believed the case would be “fairly easy” to prosecute because of the number of witnesses. At the same time, however, Polis said that regardless of the shooter’s motive, it won’t make sense to anyone.
“This is right where everyone goes to shop,” Polis said. “It never occurs to you that this trip to the grocery store could be your last moments on earth.
Polis said he ordered flags to fly half-baton for 10 days to honor the 10 victims.
He also told CNN he spoke with President Joe Biden, who called for tougher gun laws on Tuesday.
“I don’t need to wait a minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense action that will save lives in the future. And I encourage my colleagues in the House and Senate to take action,” Biden said.
“It’s not – it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It’s an American issue. It will save lives, American lives. We have to act,” Biden said.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement Tuesday, “We must do better to prevent mass shootings in our state and our nation.
“We have tackled this problem in Colorado and the discussion of how to keep guns out of the reach of dangerous people will continue. For now, we must all seize the opportunity to support the people of Colorado and each other. we always have. “
King Sooper is owned by the Kroger company, which said the store will remain closed during the police investigation.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled victim Denny Stong’s last name based on information provided by the Boulder Police Department.
Konstantin Toropin, Alisha Ebrahimji, Steve Almasy, Paul P. Murphy, Blake Ellis, Whitney Wild, Melissa Gray, Keith Allen and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.
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