President Joe Biden reached out to the mayor of Boulder on Wednesday, offering condolences and federal resources to a city mourning its dead two days after a devastating shooting assault that stunned the nation.
“I just received a call from @POTUS extending his condolences and support to the Boulder community as we begin our healing,’ Mayor Sam Weaver said on a Twitter post. “The President was clearly pained by our losses, and offered any resources we need. I thanked him sincerely on behalf of everyone in Boulder.”
A makeshift memorial outside the King Soopers store continued to grow, and multiple vigils were planned across a city still reeling from the brutality of the attack.
Boulder City Council scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday night to address the tragedy and pay homage to the 10 people killed in the carnage at a King Soopers supermarket.
The city posted a notice on Twitter that no volunteers or food donations were needed, and offers of monetary assistance were being directed to the Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, the Boulder County Injured & Fallen Officer Fund and the Colorado Healing Fund.
“We have received an outpouring of support from across the nation,” city officials said in a Twitter post. “Thank you everyone for your outpouring of kindness during this difficult time for our community.”
The suspect in the attack, described by friends and family as angry, violent and paranoid faces a first court appearance Thursday on first-degree murder charges. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, will be advised at the hearing of the charges he faces and his rights as a defendant. He won’t enter a plea until later in the judicial process.
Alissa 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.
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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