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Boulder Shooting Suspect Passed Background Check in Purchase of Gun

Police said suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa purchased the weapon at a gun shop in Arvada, Colorado.

(CN) --- The man suspected of killing 10 people at a Colorado grocery store legally purchased the Ruger AR-556 pistol at a gun shop in Arvada, police confirmed Friday.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, passed a background check as required by the state and purchased the weapon at Eagles Nest Armory in the suburb where he lived days before allegedly committing the crime.

“I’ve spoken loud and clear over the years about the need for us to reduce gun violence in Colorado," Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty told reporters at a press conference when asked whether any laws could have prevented the shooting. "At this point those actions need to continue, but I am going to remain focused on this case."

Alissa also carried a 9 mm handgun, which was not fired at the King Soopers in Boulder, 25 miles north of Denver.

"We are absolutely shocked by what happened and our hearts are broken for the victims and families that are left behind. Ensuring every sale that occurs at our shop is lawful, has always been and will always remain the highest priority for our business,” Eagles Nest Armory said in a statement. “We have and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement as their investigation continues.”

The victims, aged 20 to 65 years old, included three King Soopers employees, several shoppers and a police officer.

Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51, had been with the police department since 2010 and was father to seven kids.

Authorities identified the nine additional victims as: Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

Thursday marked Alissa's first court appearance. He was apprehended at the scene on Monday and hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the leg.

Dougherty anticipate charging Alissa with additional counts of attempted murder.

“Immediately after responding [Boulder Police] charged into the store,” Dougherty said. “Their actions saved others from being killed. They charged into the store and immediately faced gunfire.”

One police officer who exchanged fire with Alissa has been placed on administrative leave for an independent review as required by department policy.

Dougherty additionally vowed to keep the proceedings in Boulder County.

“The defendant has the constitutional right to a fair trial, it’s important for me to stress that to the media and every time I address the community because it’s the right thing to do,” Dougherty said. “It’s important that this trial be held in Boulder County.”

Investigators have yet to reveal a motive for the crime and decline to openly speculate.

“It’s very important to give an overview of the last five days,” said Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold. “Like the rest of the community, we also want to know why: why Boulder, why King Soopers, why Monday.”

“I want to say something about the community, we’ve had an outpouring of grief and it’s been heartwarming to me to see how supportive the community has been,” Herold added. “I’ve never seen this happen in my 30-year-career.”

This is the latest tragedy added to Colorado’s infamous modern history of massacres, including the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School, the 2012 mass shooting at a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, and the 2019 murder at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

Data compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University puts Monday’s attack as America’s seventh mass killing so far this year. The sixth happened on March 16 in Atlanta, when eight people were shot and killed at a trio of massage businesses.

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