“She was so energetic and charismatic and she was a shining light in this dark world,” her uncle Bob Olds said.
“There is a hole in our family that will not be filled,” the uncle said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Rikki Olds, 25, has a little brother, who “takes it very hard,” said Bob Olds.
“Rikki lived his life on his own terms,” he said. “She didn’t care if people judged her by her hair color or the kind of tattoos she had. ”
He added: “When Rikki showed up home, we never knew what color her hair was going to be. We never knew what new tattoos she might have. ”
Olds recalled his niece’s dreams and ambitions. The young woman “wanted to be a nurse, but that plan was changed, so Rikki had a back-up plan,” Olds explained.
“Rikki was pursuing her dream of becoming a Store Manager at King Soopers. ”
She had planned to come to his house for a family reunion this week, he said. He can’t shake his last words for him: “See you Thursday. ”
As news of the shooting spread on Monday, her family panicked when they couldn’t reach them. “We had to wait and worry about his fate for several hours,” said Bob Olds.
“After calls to the police department and every local hospital and coroner’s office, we finally received a callback from the coroner’s office. ”
Two other store associates – Denny Stong, 20, and Teri Leiker, 51 – were among the victims, according to Kroger, owner of King Soopers.
The first officer to arrive at the scene, Eric Talley, was among those killed, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said.
Stong and Olds were graduates of the Boulder Valley School District, Superintendent Rob Anderson said in a statement.
“Several of the other victims were the parents of our graduates and given that this is a tight-knit community there will likely be many other ties to BVSD schools both among those killed and other victims, ”Anderson said.
“While we cannot imagine what would cause such harm, we know that many in our community have acted courageously in the face of unspeakable violence,” said the director. Anderson pointed to the actions of first responders and King Soopers employees who “acted bravely” in trying to get others to safety during the shooting.
“We are eternally grateful for their quick thinking and courage,” said Anderson.
‘A wise young man’
Stong graduated from Fairview High School in 2019 and Olds graduated from Centaurus High School in 2013, he said.
A colleague described Stong as a “wise young man”.
“Denny was like a boring little brother to me. I loved him, we took each other but we respected each other, ”said Logan Ezra Smith, 20, who worked with Stong at King Soopers.
“I want people to remember Denny as a wise young man, he and I were both big supporters of the Second Amendment and were going to shoot on weekends, every weekend was a highlight.
“I will miss his smile and his laughter, but also his honesty.” He put you in your shoes. ”
Another friend, Bianca Porter, said she was not surprised to hear reports that Stong tried to protect others during the shooting.
“I had no doubt that he had lost his life trying to save other people,” she said. “That’s who he was. ”
Stong dreamed of becoming a pilot, she said.
“He was really passionate. Denny had a work ethic like no other I’ve ever met, ”Porter said.
His job wasn’t the most interesting, “but he couldn’t wait to do it, I never heard him once complain about having to go to work late or something,” Porter said. “He really did what he could and had no complaints. ”
Suzanne Fountain, 59, was the kind of person who made those who met her feel like they “already know her,” friend Helen Forster told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
If you were having a bad day, Fountain’s smile would cheer you up, said Forster, who had known Fountain since the late 1980s.
“She was just lighting up the room, and she was a shining light,” Forster said. “It’s a terrible loss of an incredible human being. ”
“Her whole life was really about giving service, helping others,” Forster said.
“All you had to do was be near her or give yourself a hug, and everything was better.” ”
Martha Harmon Pardee, an actress, told CNN on Wednesday that she met Fountain on stage over 30 years ago while performing in a show.
“I liked her immediately,” Pardee said. “That’s exactly what happened when people met her. She was a bright light, a lover of peace, a strong feminist. ”
Pardee said that she and Fountain have only acted together twice – “but I never missed a show she was in because I loved watching her, I always learned something. ”
“It was a joy and an honor to work with her on stage because she was so connected, so present and so generous,” she said.
‘The most loving person I have ever met’
Flowers, photos, balloons and messages formed a memorial for Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, outside Umba, the Boulder yoga and accessories store she ran.
Matisse Molina, a friend who worked in Bartkowiak’s store, described her as “the most amazing person I have ever met in my life”.
Molina said “she would rather make friends than sell products from her store.”
“There’s no word that could describe her to who she really was, because she was so amazing,” Molina said.
“She touched so many lives, I can’t even tell you. She has brought people from very dark places to their highest heights. She has helped me as a person to grow tremendously, ”added Molina.
Bartkowiak was recently engaged for the first time, a friend told CNN’s Kyung Lah.
Her cousin, who only visited by David, told CNN affiliate KCAL her family watched hours of footage covering the shoot when they discovered her car was parked in the King Soopers parking lot on Monday. . Then at 3:30 a.m., his mother called to say that Bartkowiak – who lived in the same house where David grew up – was among those killed.
“She helped me raise myself, she was always there for me,” he said. “She was the most loving person I have ever met in my life. ”
Four other victims
The chief identified the names and ages of the other victims:
Cousins Stanisic – 23 ans
Kevin Mahoney – 61 ans
Lynn Murray – 62 ans
Jody Waters – 65 ans
The victim was repairing an espresso machine at the store
When Logan Ezra Smith, 20, arrived Monday to work as a barista at the store’s Starbucks, Neven Stanisic was working to fix the espresso machine.
“He and I immediately clicked and talked the whole time,” said Smith, who has worked at the store for about a year. “I got to know a good part of his life in a short time. ”
Smith said he and Stanisic were about the same age and had a lot in common.
“He seemed like a person I would like to spend time with outside of work,” Smith said, adding that now “that would never happen”.
Smith remembers speaking with Stanisic for over two hours while the young man worked on the coffee machine.
“He had one of the strongest work ethics of any youngster I’ve ever met,” Smith said. “He loved what he was doing. He loved his friends. He loved his family. He was a great man, even knowing him for three hours in total. ”
Rev. Radovan Petrovic said Stanisic and his family left Bosnia as Serbian refugees and settled in Lakewood, Colorado. Petrovic met the family in 2006 when they started attending the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist. The family is filled with hard workers and Stanisic was no exception.
“They still carry a deep memory of the old country, but they love it here too,” he said. “For them, it is beyond understanding that they fled the war and were forced to leave their homes and come here for a better life and for this tragedy to happen. ”
Petrovic described Stanisic as a “very good boy” who was brought up with respect for others. He loved snowboarding and basketball, which he played with church members.
When Stanisic graduated from high school, he decided it was best for him and his family to join the workforce. He was a technician who worked on coffee and juice machines.
Petrovic said the family were trying to figure out why their son’s life was cut short, but it was difficult to describe in detail how they felt.
“You have to be there to see the agony and sadness they are experiencing and bear with this tragic loss,” he said. “The screaming and screaming – it cannot be described. They can’t help but wonder why. And why their son – like probably all other victims are wondering the same. ”
A father of 7 was among those killed
Officer Talley ran into danger as the first officer to respond to a call “regarding a possible person with a patrol rifle,” the police chief said.
“I must relate to you the heroic action of this officer when he responded to the scene,” Herold said.
She said Talley, 51, had been with the force since 2010.
The veteran officer is survived by his wife and seven children, his father, Homer Talley, told CNN affiliate KUSA.
“He loved his family more than anything,” said Homer Talley.
Officer Talley’s bravery was evident on his last day of duty, his family said.
“It didn’t surprise me, he was the first one there,” his father said.
CNN’s David Williams and Konstantin Toropin contributed to this report.