The man charged with killing 10 people in a Boulder grocery store passed a background check and purchased the weapon used in the slaughter, a Colorado gun shop owner said Friday.
Colorado shooter motive still unknown
The suspected gunman, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, purchased a Ruger AR-556 on March 16 — days before the shootings, a senior law enforcement source said.
“We are absolutely shocked by what happened and our hearts are broken for the victims and families that are left behind,” John Mark Eagleton, the owner of Eagles Nest Armory in Arvada, said in a statement.
The store “will continue to fully cooperate” with investigators, Eagleton said.
“Ensuring every sale that occurs at our shop is lawful, has always been and will always remain the highest priority for our business,” the statement said.
“Regarding the firearm in question, a background check of the purchaser was conducted as required by Colorado law and approval for the sale was provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.”
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said Friday the possible motive for the rampage continues to elude investigators.
“I think the victims’ families and the community are desperate to know the motive,” he told reporters. “We want to know the motive. And that’s going to be the focus of our efforts going forward. Whether or not we’re able to determine it remains to be seen.”
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Democrats using tragedy to strip law abiding citizens of their gun rights
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said, “Why that King Soopers? Why Boulder? Why Monday? Unfortunately, at this time, we still don’t have those answers.”
Additional charges of attempted murder in the first degree against Alissa will be filed in the “next couple of weeks,” said Dougherty, adding that those counts stem from the suspect’s exchange of gunfire with police.
The actions of law enforcement and the “quick thinking of a lot of people in the supermarket” undoubtedly saved lives, the prosecutor said. He said investigators were still examining store shelves and walls to determine the number of shots fired.
“It was a grocery store in the middle of the day,” he said. “So from your own experience — we’ve all been to the supermarket. That’s how many people were there.”
King Sooper’s employee Emily Giffen told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Friday that she witnessed the suspect chase a man into the parking lot and shoot him multiple times.
Giffen said she was on break outside the building with another girl when they heard a “loud popping sounds.”
She said she turned to the other girl and said, “I don’t think it is fireworks.”
Giffen said she then saw a man “running into the middle of the street to get away.”
The suspect shot him and then shot four or five more rounds into the man’s back while he was on the ground, Giffen said.
The two women then ran behind the store where they found other employees and customers evacuating the building. The evacuees ran up a hill that was covered in snow and mud to get to the other side of the shopping center and take shelter in a Whole Foods store, Giffen said.
Alissa has been moved out of county jail after officers became aware of “threats toward him” from other inmates, a jail official told reporters. He was relocated early Wednesday morning, according to Jeff Goetz, Division Chief of the Boulder County Jail.
Alissa was never in direct contact with the inmates and was not harmed, but other inmates were asking about him and making threats, according to Goetz. These questions were directed toward other officers.
The move preceded Alissa’s initial court appearance Thursday, where he was charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree. He remained seated in a wheelchair wearing a face mask and only spoke when the judge asked if he understood his rights.