Boulder, Colorado Shooting

Boulder%2C+Colorado+Shooting

By — Joey Hudson

On March 22, 2021, ten people, including one police officer, were all shot and killed at a Boulder, Colorado King Soopers grocery store. The victims were all adults between the ages of 20 to 65. The victims include, Officer Eric Talley, age 51; Denny Strong, age 20; Neven Stanisic, age 23; Rikki Olds, age 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, age 49; Teri Keiker, age 51; Suzanne Fountain, age 59; Kevin Mahoney, age 61; Lynn Murray, age 62; and Jody Waters, age 65.

Eric Talley worked as a police officer at the Boulder Police Department for 11-years. Talley who was one of the first officers to arrive at the King Soopers’ grocery store to respond to the numerous 9-1-1 calls reporting the shooting, was called “heroic” by the Chief of the police department, Maris Herold. Talley’s father, Homer Talley, says that Eric joined the police force at 40-years-old because he wanted to serve people. Talley leaves behind 7 children.

The youngest victim of the shooting, Denny Strong, worked at King Soopers a couple years before the shooting. At work, Strong was known for working extra shifts in order to gain enough money for plane fuel when he was working to get his pilot’s license. Strong also took up a hobby in dirt biking. 

Tralona Bartkowiak managed a yoga and festival clothing shop called Umba. The oldest of her siblings, her brother describes her as, “an amazing person, just a beam of light.” She moved to Boulder, Colorado in order to help her sister in launching the store she would later manage. Bartkowiak was also newly engaged.

Rikki Olds was age 25 at the time she passed. Olds also worked at the King Soopers grocery store as a front-end manager, where she worked for seven to eight years. Olds was known for being an avid outdoors enthusiast who frequently went hiking and camping. Olds was described as a “happy-go-lucky” person and a strong, independent woman. 

Lynn Murrary was a retired photo director for New York magazines and mother of two. Murray was at the store on Monday shopping for an Instacart order, which Murrary took up after her retirement because she enjoyed helping people. Murray was also very creative and would make Halloween costumes for her kids when they were children. Olivia Mackenzie, Murrary’s daughter, said, “The most undeserving person to have to be shot down I can think of has to be my mother, and I just wish it could have been me.”

Teri Leiker worked at King Soopers for 30 years prior to the shooting. Leiker was a part of a program called “Best Buddies”, a program that connects students at University of Colorado Boulder with members of the intellectual and developmental disabilities community. Alexis Knutson, 22, met Leiker through the program and the two often attended university sporting events together. Leiker was said to have been a warm presence at her work as a grocery bagger.
23-year-old Neven Stanisic was at the grocery store fixing the coffee machines at the Starbucks inside the grocery store. He was just leaving the store when the shooting started. Stanisic was a son of Serbian refugees who fled Central Bosnia due to the ongoing violence and to provide their future family a better life. Stanisic was an artist who frequently drew anime drawings. Stanisic’s father says that Stanisic was a shining hope for their family.

Gardener Suzzanne Fountain was also one of the victims killed on Monday. Fountain was known for planting a variety of tomato, lettuce, and basil plants all around her garden. Fountain was usually seen by neighbors later evenings watching the sunset. Fountain leaves behind her one son, Nataniel.

Erika Mahoney remembers her dad, Kevin Mahoney, who was killed at the King Soopers grocery store, as her hero. On a Twitter post, Mahoney tweets, “I am heartbroken to announce that my Dad, my hero, Kevin Mahoney, was killed in the King Soopers shooting. My dad represents all things Love. I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer.” Mahoney was about to become a grandfather.

Jody Waters lived in Boulder, Colorado for a lot of her life and was the oldest victim of the Boulder shooting. Waters was a businesswoman who owned boutiques on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. Waters was known for lighting up a room when she walked in it and the way she dressed and presented herself. Waters is survived by her two daughters.

The police have arrested a suspect of the shooting, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who has since been charged with 10 counts of murder as well as attempted murder. Alissa carried with him an assault rifle and wearing an armored vest. Alissa was known by his family and close friends as being very paranoid, always believing that he was being followed or chased by someone. Alissa has lived in the United States for the majority of his life and attended Arvada West High School, where he was bullied and targeted due to him being Muslim. It’s still unknown what Alissa’s motive was behind the attack.

The shooting follows one week after the Atlanta shootings that resulted in 8 dead, 6 of the victims being of Asian descent. While the shooter of the Atlanta shooting claims the attack was sexually motivated, many see the attacks as another hate crime towards Asian-Americans due to the shooter only targeting Asian spas and the increase in racism and hate crimes towards Asians ever since the start of COVID-19. President Joe Biden has started to push for gun reforms to the House in wake of the 2 recent mass shootings, saying, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future. This is no -it should not be – a partisan issue. This is an American issue. It will save lives, American lives. We have to act.”