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Murder Charges Officially Filed Against Boulder Supermarket Mass Shooting Suspect


Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty‘s office announced on Thursday that King Soopers mass shooting suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21,of Arvada, Colorado has officially been charged with 11 criminal counts.

There are 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of criminal attempt to commit murder in the first degree. The first 10 counts are for the Monday afternoon murders of Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Suzanne Fountain, 59, Teri Leiker, 51, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, Rikki Olds, 25, Neven Stanisic, 23, Denny Stong, 20, Boulder police officer Eric Talley, 51, and Jody Waters, 65.

Documents say “Alissa unlawfully, feloniously, after deliberation, and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, caused the death” of each victim.

The suspect is also accused of a criminal attempt to murder Officer Richard Steidell.

“On or about March 22, 2021, by engaging in conduct constituting a substantial step toward the commission of murder in the first degree, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa unlawfully, feloniously, after deliberation, and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself attempted to cause the death of Officer Richard Steidell,” documents say.

Alissa appeared in court for the first time on Thursday. His attorney, Kathryn Herold, asked for two to three months of time so that the defense team can “fully assess Mr. Alissa’s mental illness.” The defendant did not enter a plea. His left leg could be seen rocking back and forth throughout the brief initial appearance. When the judge asked Alissa if he understood his rights, he shook his head in the affirmative. When prompted by the judge to give a verbal answer, Alissa said “Yes.” That was the only thing he said.

“Charges in the King Soopers case have been filed. Please see attached for a copy of the filed Complaint and Information. The investigation is in the very early stages. It is anticipated that additional charges will be filed in the weeks ahead. Additionally, it is anticipated that today’s court appearance will be the first court appearance in what will likely be a lengthy court process. As in every criminal case, the charges are merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty,” the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The state notified the defense that it was endorsing 13 additional witnesses. Documents also provided additional information about Alissa.

Authorities are still investigating a motive. The suspect reportedly bought an assault weapon six days before the shooting. He was born in Syria in 1999, but he emigrated to the U.S. when he was 3 years old and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. In the aftermath of the mass shooting, family members and others who came into contact with Alissa over the years divulged alarming details.

Alissa, who wrestled while he went to school at Arvada West High School, once “got super mad and started throwing his head gear” after losing a match and said “I’m going to kill you guys,” Angel Hernandez said.

“I have heard of people bullying him because he was balding really early on and I heard of claims that he was bullied because he was a Muslim,” Kayli Porterfield, who was a student manager of the high school wrestling team, told KCNC-TV. “He said something about how if anyone said anything about him being a Muslim, he would file a hate crime and everything like that.”

“He threatened he was going to kill everyone, but no one took it seriously cause we are all high school and we say stupid things,” she added.

Another report said that Alissa said he “blacked out” when assaulting a fellow student in 2017. He claimed Alex Kimose called him “racist names, called him a terrorist,” and called him a “nerd” in a Snapchat video. Witnesses said the attack was “totally unprovoked.”

Alissa’s brother described him as a “very anti-social” and paranoid person who believed he was being watched and “chased” by people who were not there.

The shooting was “not at all a political statement, it’s mental illness,” Ali Aliwi Alissa told the Daily Beast.

CBS affiliate KCNC reported on Tuesday that “[i]nvestigators who searched the suspect’s home on Monday spoke to a woman who identified herself as his sister-in-law. She told police it the suspect was seen playing with a gun she thought looked like a ‘machine gun’ about two days ago. She said she thought he still had access to the gun.”

After the shooting, Alissa “asked to speak to his mother,” according to an arrest affidavit.

Read the document below:

[Image via Boulder Police Department]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.