BOULDER, Colo. — Authorities announced the deaths of ten Boulder civilians following a mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in the afternoon hours of Monday, March 22. The suspect, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, faces 10 murder charges.
Authorities were initially called to the King Soopers location responding to reports of a “possible person with a patrol rifle.” The gunman entered the location at approximately 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time before opening fire.
Video posted on YouTube showed one body lying on the floor near the entrance, accompanied by two more in the parking lot. Officials have since confirmed that ten people died in the shooting including a 51-year-old police officer, Eric Talley.
“He was by all accounts one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut too short,” The District Attorney of Boulder County said of Talley.
A suspect is currently in custody, Boulder Police Cmdr. Kerry Yamaguchi told reporters at a press conference.
When pressed about the exact number and names of victims killed, those who spoke at the press conference, names including Boulder County DA Michael Dougherty and Commander Yamaguchi, said they couldn’t reveal the number prior to notification of next-of-kin. Chief Maris Herold later announced the total death number as 10 at a press conference.
A shelter-in-place order was put in place roughly five miles away from the grocery store, however, the situation was later determined to be unrelated.
In a statement, King Soopers extended their “thoughts, prayers and support to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation. We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and our store will remain closed during the police investigation.”
Investigators haven’t yet uncovered a motive and are still in the early stages of collecting evidence and witness statements, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.
“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” Dougherty said. “These were people going about their day, doing their shopping. I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice.”
Authorities also didn’t share information on the specific gun type used by the shooter, however, senior law enforcement sources have said the man used a firearm similar in style to an AR-15. Yamaguchi said the only person significantly injured was the shooting suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a 21-year-old man of Muslim faith.
Alissa was photographed being led away from the scene by police with blood dripping down his leg. He was later transported to a nearby health center and was treated for his injuries
A witness to the shooting told KMGH he heard several gunshots before running out of an emergency exit door, helping bystanders escape. Alissa began shooting bystanders in a checkout line beginning with a woman.
Employees from the store were evacuated through the roof while police closed in on the shooter, who came out of the establishment unarmed wearing only his underwear.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued a statement on Twitter regarding the shooting.
“Like my fellow Coloradans, I am closely watching unfolding events at King Soopers in Boulder,” Polis wrote. “My prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also published a message on Twitter.
“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,” she said.
The FBI is assisting the Boulder Police Department in a criminal investigation regarding the shooting, with the suspect currently in custody. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty told reporters his office would “do everything we can” to fight for the victims and their families.
The attack was the seventh mass shooting this year, coming one week after the killing of eight people in Atlanta, according to a database compiled by USA Today, The Associated Press, and Northeastern University.
The Acting U.S. Attorney for Colorado, Matthew Kirsch, said the “full weight of federal law enforcement” will aid in the investigation including ATF and FBI agents. Over fifteen agencies responded to the shooting.