Lots of collect for the vigil within the metropolis heart

BOULDER, Colo – Hundreds of mourners gathered in downtown Boulder as dusk fell as the city continued to mourn the devastating gunfire that baffled the nation.

While a string quartet played while a news helicopter rattled overhead, mourners held candles and flowers to show their respect and called for a more loving and supportive world after the attack that saw 10 people at a King Soopers supermarket on Monday died in Boulder.

“I felt I had to pay my respects as part of humanity,” said Marla Romero, 53, who used to work at Boulder.

The attack marked the seventh mass murder in the United States that year, following the March 16 shooting that killed eight people at three massage companies in the Atlanta area. This comes from a database compiled by AP, USA TODAY and Northeastern University.

There follows a pause in mass murders during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, which the database saw the lowest number of such attacks in eight years. It records mass murders that are defined as four or more dead, without the shooter.

The shootings in Boulder and Atlanta prompted President Joe Biden to urge Congress to tighten the nation’s gun laws. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to come up with two House-approved bills calling for expanded background checks for gun buyers. Biden supports the measures, but they face a more difficult path in a tightly divided Senate with a narrow democratic majority.

Biden reached out to the Mayor of Boulder, Colorado Wednesday for condolences and federal funding.

“I just got a call from @POTUS offering their condolences and support to the Boulder community as we begin our healing,” Mayor Sam Weaver said on a Twitter post. I thanked him sincerely on behalf of everyone in Boulder. “

A makeshift memorial grew outside the King Soopers supermarket where the shooting took place and vigils were planned in a town still ravaged by the brutality of the attack.

Boulder City Council scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday evening to address the tragedy and honor the 10 people killed in the slaughter.

The city posted a notice on Twitter that no volunteers or food donations were required, and offers of financial assistance were made to the Colorado State Lodge fraternal police force, the Boulder County Injured & Fallen Officer Fund, and the Colorado Healing Fund.

“We have received a lot of support from across the nation,” city officials said. “Thank you everyone for your kindness in this difficult time for our community.”

The boulder victims were identified as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Brunnen, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Eric Talley, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65.

Leiker, Olds and Stong worked in the supermarket, staff said. Talley was the first officer on the scene. Homer Talley, 74, described his son as a devoted father who “knew the Lord.” He had seven children, ages 7 to 20.

NEW FROM TREVOR Hundreds of mourners gathered in downtown Boulder as dusk fell on Wednesday night and a string quartet played while a news helicopter rattled overhead.

Holding candles and flowers, they remembered the dead to show their respect and demand a more loving, supportive world.

“I felt I had to pay my respects as part of humanity,” said Marla Romero, 53, who used to work at Boulder.

Nearly a dozen police officers stood on guard – normally they would have been Boulder cops, but instead it was park rangers, state troopers, and county sheriff deputies who entered. Several were holding bouquets of flowers that were given to them by mourners.

As darkness fell, Anna Chensny, 24, silenced the crowd with a solo version of Ave Maria and brought several participants to tears and sobs.

Chensny, who lives in Boulder, said she volunteered because her psychotherapist training was ongoing, but she is a professionally trained singer.

She said she had a panic attack in her car Tuesday night after going shopping.

“I found this to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she said of her performance on Wednesday night. “It’s hard to share your voice when you’re shaking with tears.”

The previous Wednesday, the Boulder Police Department invited the public to support Talley by witnessing a police procession when his body was brought from the coroner’s office to a funeral home in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

Red and blue lights flashed along a park path as dozens of officers from Boulder and neighboring departments became aware. When the hearse passed, the officers saluted when one of them shouted: “Attention!” One person was holding an American flag.

Emily Giffen, 27, told the Associated Press that she was smoking during a break outside the store on Monday when she heard several loud popping noises that she knew weren’t fireworks. She said she saw a man running across an intersection suddenly fall over and another man crouch down near him and fire several rounds at close range.

“I have a really hard time understanding why my friends and I deserve to die,” she said, wondering why the shooter chose the bouldering store specifically. “It doesn’t seem personal so I don’t quite understand why we drew that lottery ticket.”

The suspect in the attack, described by friends and family as angry, violent and paranoid, will be tried on Thursday for first degree murder. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, will be informed of the prosecution and his rights as a defendant at the hearing. He will not make a plea later in the trial and a defense attorney has not been listed on the court records.

Alissa bought a Ruger AR-556 assault weapon six days before the shootings, according to an affidavit. The suspect is also said to have left a rifle – “possibly” an AR-15 – and a semi-automatic pistol in the store when he was shot and taken into custody by police.

Police chief Maris Herold, who said she lived three blocks from the supermarket and did frequent shopping, said no motive for the attack had been identified.

About 100 people mourned the makeshift memorial on Tuesday evening, which was decorated with wreaths, candles, banners with the words “#Boulderstrong” and 10 crosses with blue hearts and the names of the victims. Therapy dogs were available for comfort.

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Four girls huddled together in the cold, one of whom cried as she remembered how young people rallied against gun violence after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 17 people died in this rampage on Valentine’s Day.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina died in Parkland, tweeted support for Boulder and the victims’ families in Georgia, where 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long is accused of killing eight people at three massage baths in and around Atlanta last week.

“My prayers are with the families of the victims, first responders and others affected by the recent Atlanta and Boulder shootings,” he tweeted. “These acts of violence are evil.”

The movement that emerged from the Parkland shoot, the March for Our Lives, was three years since over 1 million students demonstrated against gun violence on Thursday in Washington, DC and around the world.

“Our country is in a constant cycle of violence and apathy, and it is hard to see more communities grieving when all we want three years ago and now is that people live free from gun violence,” the organizers tweeted. They “mourned” the lives of the victims in Boulder and Atlanta.

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Family members described Alissa as paranoid and antisocial, and his brother said he believed his younger sibling was mentally ill.

Alissa, a resident of the suburb of Arvada, Denver, went to the King Soopers in Boulder, about 20 miles away, with two guns, according to an affidavit. He shot 10 people, police say, before surrendering with a leg wound after stripping down to his shorts.

Ali Alissa, 34, told CNN that his brother was bullied in high school for being a Muslim and became antisocial and increasingly paranoid around 2014. A high school graduate in 2018, Ahmad Alissa was found guilty of assaulting a classmate after knocking on him, according to a police affidavit in which Alissa complained that the student had called him “racial names” beat him he hit the floor several times and hit him on the head several times.

Contributor: The Associated Press

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