Authorities continue to look for the motive for the nation’s second mass shooting in a week and the seventh so far in 2021.
(CN) — Police in Boulder, Colorado, released the names of 10 victims killed during a mass shooting at a grocery store Monday, ages ranging from 20 to 65 years old.
Among the victims was Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51. Talley had been with the police department since 2010.
“He’s a very kind man and he didn’t have to go into policing,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a press conference. “[Talley] had another profession before this but he felt a higher calling. He was everything policing should be, he cared about his community and he cared about his family.”
Herold recalled seeing Talley with his seven kids in her office just weeks ago, after one of his sons saved the life of another kid who had swallowed a quarter.
“He taught his sons CPR. He wanted all of his kids to know CPR,” Herold said. “It’s hard, I live three blocks up the street from that store. You’re worried about your neighbors, you’re worried about your partner, you’re worried about everyone when you get that call.”
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.
On Monday afternoon, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa opened fire on the King Soopers in the Table Mesa neighborhood of Boulder with an assault-style weapon and a semiautomatic handgun. He wore a green tactical vest and jeans. Officers arrived on the scene at 2:40 p.m. Alissa, who lives in nearby Arvada, has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree.
In a police affidavit released Tuesday, investigators discovered Alissa bought a Ruger AR-556 on March 16, but it’s unclear from the affidavit if that was the assault-style weapon used.
The affidavit also detailed an interview with Alissa’s sister-in-law, where she disclosed seeing him “playing with a gun she thought looked like a ‘machine gun’” days before the shooting.
Investigators declined to speculate about his motive.
“We are conducting a thorough investigation and that includes the motive,” said Michael Schneider, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who is working on the case. “It’s been 24 hours since the incident and it would be premature to draw any conclusions at this time.”
Alissa is currently hospitalized for a “through and through” gunshot wound to his leg, but will be transferred to the Boulder County Jail sometime Tuesday.
According to the affidavit, Alissa “did not answer questions, though he asked to speak to his mother.”
In addressing the tragedy, President Joe Biden urged Congress to close the loophole on background checks, limit magazines and ban assault weapons.
“I hate to say it because it’s been said so often, our hearts go out,” said Biden from the White House.
“The United States Senate, I hope some are listening, should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that would close loopholes in the background check system,” Biden said. “These are bills that received support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House. This is not and should not be a partisan issue, this is an American issue and it will save lives.”
Locally, Colorado’s representatives also addressed the violence.
“Going to the grocery store has been one of the few activities we were able to continue as Coloradans,” said U.S. Representative Joe Neguse of the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Boulder.
“We should be able to feel safe in our grocery stores, in our schools, in our movie theaters,” Neguse said, echoing Colorado’s infamous history that includes the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School and the 2012 mass shooting at a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora.
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.
In 2020, the country saw the smallest number of such attacks in more than a decade, according to the database, due to the coronavirus pandemic.