Colorado gunnery suspect successfully screened legal gun purchase

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Colorado gunnery suspect successfully screened legal gun purchase


BOULDER, Colorado – The suspect in the Colorado supermarket shooting bought a gun at a local gun store after passing a background check, and he also had a second gun with him which he did not have used in the attack that killed 10 people this week, authorities and the owner of the gun store said on Friday.

Investigators are working to determine the motive for the shooting, but they are not yet sure why the suspect chose the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder or what led him to carry out the rampage, the police chief said. Maris Herold at a press conference.

“Like the rest of the community, we also want to know why – why this King Soopers, why Boulder, why Monday,” Herold said. “It will be something that will haunt us all until we find out.” Sometimes you just don’t understand these things. But I hope we will.

The swift response from officers, who exchanged gunshots with the suspect, kept many people inside the store out of danger, said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty, who declined to say how many people were in the supermarket. The first officer at the scene was killed.

“Their actions saved other civilians from being killed,” Dougherty said of the officers. “They loaded into the store and immediately faced a very significant amount of gunfire from the gunman, which they couldn’t locate at first.

Further charges will be laid against 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa in the coming weeks for shooting at officers, Dougherty said.

John Mark Eagleton, owner of the Eagles Nest Armory in the Arvada suburb of Denver, said in a statement that his store was cooperating with authorities with their investigation. The suspect passed a background check conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation before purchasing a gun, Eagleton said.

Alissa used a Ruger AR-556 pistol, which looks like an AR-15 rifle with a slightly shorter butt, when firing, Herold said. An arrest affidavit says Alissa bought it on March 16, six days before the shooting.

He also had a 9mm handgun which the police chief said was not used in the attack. Herold didn’t say how Alissa got it.

“We are absolutely shocked by what has happened and our hearts are broken for the victims and the families who are being left behind. Ensuring that every sale made in our store is legal, has always been and always will be the top priority for our business, ”Eagleton said in the release.

The gun store is in a mall that also has a chiropractic clinic, yoga studio, and foot massage parlor. It is less than half a mile from one of Alissa’s family restaurants and about 3 miles from her family’s home in Arvada. Another King Soopers store is across the street.

Colorado has a universal background check law that covers almost all gun sales, but misdemeanor convictions generally don’t stop people from buying guns.

Alissa was convicted in 2018 of tortious assault after punching a high school classmate to the ground, climbing on top of him and repeatedly punching him on the head, according to police documents. He was sentenced to probation and community service.

If Alissa had been convicted of a felony, her purchase of firearms would have been prohibited by federal law.

Dougherty, the district attorney, said on Friday that the FBI and other agencies were looking into the backgrounds of Alissa and the victims and had no information to share yet. He said federal agencies were looking at “other guns that may be related to him,” but declined to give further details.

Dougherty said officials will limit what they reveal about the investigation, which is expected to take months, to protect Alissa’s right to a fair trial and ensure it takes place in Boulder County.

“If we share too much about the facts of the investigation, it is possible that we will see a motion from the defense to move this trial elsewhere in the state of Colorado,” said Dougherty. “And I want to make sure that the people of Boulder have the opportunity to have this trial and that justice is served here.”

Alissa made her first court appearance on Thursday, where her public defender requested a mental health assessment but did not provide any details about her mental state. He is charged with 10 counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder for the shots fired at an uninjured police officer.

Alissa was treated in a hospital before going to jail with her hands tied during the transfer by the handcuffs used by Constable Eric Talley, who died in the attack. Alissa has been transferred to a jail outside of Boulder County due to security concerns arising from threats against her, county sheriff spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield said in a statement on Friday.

Alissa is being held without bail and has not yet pleaded. His next hearing will not be scheduled in two to three months to allow his lawyers to assess his mental state and the evidence gathered by investigators.

A Catholic funeral mass for Talley will be celebrated Monday at a cathedral in downtown Denver. His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in the town of Lafayette in Boulder County. The 51-year-old man joined the police department in 2010. He has had seven children.

Anderson reported from Denver. Associated Press editors Brady McCombs and Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City, Michael Balsamo and Colleen Long in Washington, and PA staff from across the United States contributed to this report. Nieberg is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on secret issues.

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