A Colorado man described by friends and family as angry, violent and paranoid faces a first court appearance Thursday on first-degree murder charges in Monday’s shooting spree that left 10 people dead at a Boulder supermarket.
A makeshift memorial outside the King Soopers store continues to grow, and multiple vigils were planned across a city still reeling from the brutality of the attack.
The suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, bought a Ruger AR-556 pistol assault weapon six days before the shootings, according to an arrest affidavit. It also says the suspect had left a rifle – “possibly” an AR-15 – and a semiautomatic handgun in the store when he was shot by police and taken into custody.
Police Chief Maris Herold, who said she lives three blocks from the supermarket and frequently shops there, said no motive for the attack had been established.
About 100 people mourned Tuesday night at the makeshift memorial that was adorned with wreaths, candles, banners reading “#Boulderstrong” and 10 crosses with blue hearts and the victims’ names. Therapy dogs were on hand to provide comfort.
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Four young girls huddled in the cold, one of them crying as she reminisced about how they had protested the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. That rampage, on Valentine’s Day, left 17 people dead.
Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina died in Parkland, tweeted support for Boulder and for the families of victims in Georgia, where another 21-year-old Robert Long is accused of killing eight people at three massage spas in and around Atlanta last week.
“My prayers are with the victims’ families, first responders & others impacted by the recent shootings in Atlanta & Boulder,” he tweeted. “These acts of violence are evil.”
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The Boulder victims were identified as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Eric Talley, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65.
Eric Talley was the first officer on the scene. Homer Talley, 74, described his son as a devoted father who “knew the Lord.” He had seven children, ages 7 to 20.
Leiker, Olds and Stong worked at the supermarket, co-workers said.
Two organizations have already stepped up to lend a hand to those most affected by the shootings. More groups are likely to offer help.
The Colorado Healing Fund, a nonprofit that provides a secure way to donate to the victims of mass casualty crimes in the state, is collecting funds online at coloradohealingfund.org.
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Family members described Alissa as paranoid and antisocial, and his brother said he believes his younger sibling is mentally ill.
Alissa, a resident of the Denver suburb of Arvada, went to a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder – about 20 miles away – with two weapons, according to an arrest affidavit. He shot and killed 10 people, police say, before surrendering to police with a leg wound after stripping down to his shorts.
Ali Alissa, 34, told CNN his brother was bullied in high school for being Muslim and became antisocial and increasingly paranoid around 2014. As a high school senior in 2018, Ahmad Alissa was found guilty of assaulting a fellow student in class after knocking him to the floor and punching him in the head several times, according to a police affidavit that said Alissa complained the student had called him “racial names.”
Contributing: The Associated Press