Although the motive for the Boulder shooting is still unclear, authorities do not believe, at least so far, that it’s a terror attack, according to reporter Pete Williams, speaking on MSNBC. The suspect is Ahmad Alissa.
Authorities did emphasize that the investigation is in its early stages, however, and the specific motive is not yet clear. The Syrian-born suspect was named by authorities in a March 23, 2021, press conference. “Why did this happen?” asked the District Attorney Michael Dougherty. He said that was not clear and is still under investigation.”We are in the very early stages of the investigation. There is much to learn,” he said.
Alissa’s Facebook page contained posts that featured quotes from the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. He wrote in 2018 on Facebook, “Muslims might not be perfect but Islam is.” He said the Muslim victims of the mass shooter in a Christchurch mosque were the victims of “Islamophobia.” In another post, he wrote, “So Mary wears a hijab and Jesus doesn’t eat pork and prays on his knees and hands. There (sic) both Muslims it’s obvious.”
He also wrote posts accusing Donald Trump of winning the presidency due to racism.
He called Trump a “dick,” criticizing his refugee stance.
On MSNBC, reporter Pete Williams revealed that federal sources told him they see no evidence that the mass shooting was a terror attack or terrorism related. He said that the FBI would be the lead agency if that was the case, and the Boulder police are the leading the probe. Williams said the suspect’s family members revealed he “suffered from fairly severe mental problems, paranoia, thought people were always chasing him.” Williams added that there are “records of encounters between him and law enforcement.” In one Facebook post, Alissa wrote that he believed his “old school” was hacking his phone. In a second post he accused “racist Islamophobic people” of hacking his phone.
An FBI official, Michael Schneider, did speak at the March 23 press conference and said, “Our objective is to conduct a thorough and meticulous investigation. The FBI is involved because of the resources we can bring to bear to support our law enforcement partners and the investigation.” He said the FBI was working in a supporting role, though, on things like interviews and crime scene collection.
Police also released the names of the 10 victims they say Alissa shot at the King Soopers store in Boulder. The victims range in age from 20 to 65.
Tributes flowed in for the victims. Of shooting victim Teri Leiker, a store employee, a friend wrote that she was “the most innocent, caring, and loving individual that the world held.” A relative called Rikki Olds a “beautiful young angel.” The father of slain Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley emphasized his love of family – he was the married father of seven kids – and Christian faith. Tralona Bartkowiak ran a small artisan store and was remembered as a person who wanted to “share beauty with others.”
Alissa is 21 and now charged with 10 counts of murder.
Here’s what you need to know:
Alissa Came to the United States at Age 3 From Syria, His Facebook Page Says
During the news conference, authorities revealed that Alissa had lived “most of his life in the United States.”
According to his older brother’s Facebook page, his family originally came from Ar Raqqah, Ar Raqqah, Syria. Alissa’s most recent post on Facebook was posted on September 18, 2020. He shared a post from the Muslim Hub reading, “The Prophet said: ‘If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift.”
Authorities did not give additional details about his background, although his Facebook page, which has since been deleted, said he moved to the United States in 2002 from Syria at the age of 3.
His Facebook page read, “born in Syria 1999 came to the USA in 2002…I like wrestling and informational documentaries that’s me.” He once posted a Facebook story criticizing Trump’s approach to immigration and wrote, “Why refugees and immigrants are good for America.”
On Facebook, he wrote things like, “Half of me wants to study hard and get a good career and half of me just wants to party and not care lol.” In 2016, he wrote, “I don’t really like to talk politics or any serious subject for that matter but please vote for my friend the Cookie Monster his running mate is shrek and the secretary of state will be donkey plz…if u vote for him I’ll give you a cookie!”
In another post, he wrote, “Eids about to come up hope all us Muslims have a good eid and finish Ramadan strong.”
On November 8, 2016, he wrote, “Regardless of political affiliation, I think it says a lot that one party has had the first minority president and the first women who might be our next president. Trump won, only time can tell what will happen other than that I will remain optimistic.”
In another post, he wrote, “God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve just saying.” He wrote, “Abortion is disgusting.” He wrote, “Just saying the genocide in Syria the Rwandan genocide the holocaust and slavery all terrible things that should have never happened all have something in common too much government control.”
His page says he studied computer science in Denver.
In 2018, he shared a story of Ronan Farrow being in possession of alleged tapes of “Donald Trump using the N-word” by Salon.com and wrote, “Even if they released the tapes his base would probably throw a party for him. He could do whatever he wants and his base would still support him regardless of what he says or does.”
In 2018, he wrote of Trump, “He inherited a growing economy and the unemployment rate was low the economy was on a upward spiral. He won because of racism.”
A witness told the Denver Post that Alissa remained silent as he opened fire inside the store.
The district attorney Michael Dougherty noted that the victims were engaged in “everyday acts” – grocery shopping, working, getting a COVID-19 vaccine. He said the “killer will be held absolutely and fully accountable for what he did.’
The Victims Range in Age From 20 to 65
Here you can watch the Boulder police chief reading all of the victims’ names:
BREAKING: Authorities read names of victims of yesterday's mass shooting in Boulder, CO.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 23, 2021
Here are the victims’ names:
Denny Stong – 20
Neven Stanasic – 23
Rikki Olds – 25
Tralona Bartkowiak – 49
Suzanne Fountain – 59
Teri Leiker – 51
Ofc Eric Talley – 51
Kevin Mahoney – 61
Lynn Murray – 62
Jody Waters – 65
Police initially released only the name of the officer slain in the King Soopers mass shooting: Eric Talley, an 11-year patrol veteran. He was the first of the King Soopers shooting victims to be identified by authorities, who now say 10 people died in the tragedy at the Colorado grocery store.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said in a news conference: “Our hearts of this community go out to the victims of this horrific incident. We know of 10 fatalities at the scene, including one of our Boulder PD officers by the name of Eric Talley.” She called the officer’s actions “heroic.” Officer Talley “was first on the scene, and he was fatally shot,” Herold said. “Again, my heart goes out to the victims of this incident…I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.”
She confirmed that “we have one suspect in custody. I want to reassure the community that they are safe.”
In a news conference, Dougherty said, “My heart goes out to family of Officer Eric Talley. His life was cut much too short.” He expressed condolences to the families of the other nine victims as well, saying there would be a “painstaking investigation.”