Boulder King Soopers Victims and Shooter Identified

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold spoke movingly during the March 23 press conference.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold spoke movingly during the March 23 press conference. City of Boulder via YouTube
During a press conference this morning, March 23, authorities revealed the names of the ten people killed during the attack at a Boulder King Soopers on the afternoon of March 22. Also named was the suspected shooter, who is currently receiving medical care at a local hospital but should be transferred to Boulder County Jail before the day is out.

Here are the victims, as well as their ages:

Denny Strong, 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
Jody Waters, 65

Talley was a Boulder police officer killed in the line of duty while responding to the assault. No additional information about the other victims was provided, but Waters was the owner of Applause, once a popular store on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall.

The suspected shooter was identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, of Arvada. Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty didn't divulge specifics about his country of birth, but said he'd spent the majority of his life in the United States and lived in Arvada. He's expected to be charged with ten counts of murder in the first degree.

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said the last of the victims was removed from the store by 1:30 a.m. today. The victims were identified by 2:02 a.m. and all families were notified by 3:59 a.m., she added.

After Herold offered brief opening remarks, she handed off the mic to a number of officials from across the state and the city: Governor Jared Polis, U.S. Representative Joe Neguse, Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver, DA Dougherty, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Matt Kirsch, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider.

All of the speakers offered sincere condolences for the losses suffered by loved ones and the community at large; Polis noted that he had personally shopped at that King Soopers many times, and expressed remorse that regular folks who'd simply stopped by to pick up a few items lost their lives in a horrific act of violence. As for Dougherty, Kirsch and Schneider, they focused on pledges that local, state and federal authorities would work together to ensure that justice was done.

The FBI is currently processing the crime scene at the store — efforts expected to take the next couple of days, at least.

Many of the questions subsequently pitched by assembled journalists were deflected, but Dougherty stressed that many answers will be contained in the suspect's arrest affidavit and arrest warrant, which are expected to be made public as soon as he's formally booked and jailed later today.

Herold subsequently returned to the microphones to talk about Talley in particularly moving terms.

"This officer had seven children, ages five to eighteen," she said. "I just had that officer's whole family in my office two weeks ago to give an award." One of Talley's younger sons had swallowed a quarter, she revealed, and because their father taught all the kids CPR, an older son "saved the little boy's life — and we gave him an award for lifesaving," she explained.

Talley was "a very kind man," she continued. "He didn't have to go into policing. He had a profession before this, but he felt a higher calling. He loved this community. He's everything policing deserves and needs to be. He cared about the Boulder Police Department. He cared about his family, and he was willing to die to protect others — and that gets lost in the translation."

Dealing with the aftermath of the shooting "is hard," she continued. "It's challenging. I live three blocks up the street from that store. ... It's heartbreaking to talk to the victims, the families. It's tragic."

Her0ld acknowledged that what happened "is personal. It is my community. I live here, and to have something like this happen so close to where you live, and to know the fear in the community, and to know that the officers sacrificed themselves — it's heartbreaking."

Other law enforcement agencies had offered to substitute for grieving Boulder police personnel today, she noted, but instead, members of her force "partnered up. They wanted to be out with the community."

Herold's final message to her officers, and to Boulder as a whole: "Don't lose your compassion, and we'll get through this — and we'll come out of this stronger."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts