Gunman kills 10, including police officer, at King Soopers | #schoolshooting | #parenting | #parenting | #kids

A gunman killed 10 people at a King Soopers in Boulder on Monday afternoon, the latest in a grim litany of mass shootings in Colorado — this one including among its victims a police officer who was first to respond to reports of shots fired at the grocery store.

The suspect was taken into custody, but there were few answers in the following hours. Officials said it would take days to investigate the large crime scene and to notify families that their loved ones had been killed.

The workers and shoppers who survived the violent scene in the Front Range college town fled the store any way they could — if they couldn’t, they took shelter inside — as the shots echoed.

“It seemed like all of us had imagined we’d be in a situation like this at some point in our lives,” 57-year-old James Bentz said.

Boulder police Chief Maris Herold identified the deceased officer at a news conference Monday night as 51-year-old Eric Talley, who had been with the department since 2010 and was first on the scene of the shooting.

Courtesy of Boulder Police Department

Officer Eric Talley

The names of the other victims were not publicly known as of late Monday night.

At about 7:45 p.m., a long procession of police vehicles and ambulances, their lights flashing in the night, drove away from the grocery store to escort Talley’s body.

Officer Mark Bliley, head of the Boulder Police Department’s union, said Talley was a close friend who was passionate about policing. On the job, Talley had a unique ability to connect with people, Bliley said.

“He was just a highly respected, well-loved person and officer,” Bliley said. “Just a solid person … I don’t know of anyone who didn’t like Eric.”

The suspect, a man, was in custody and being treated for injuries, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said, but he was not identified nor any motive ventured as of Monday night. The FBI is helping investigate at the request of Boulder police.

Police said the gunman was reported to have been carrying a rifle.

“He just came in and started shooting”

The shooting started sometime after 2:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the store at 3600 Table Mesa Drive. A livestream video, taken by local videographer Dean Schiller, who had just walked out of the store, showed what appeared to be victims and a man wearing a King Soopers employee uniform saying the shooter was inside the store.

Then what sounded like two gunshots could be heard over the video.

Two roommates who were buying pizza at the self-checkout watched the shooter come into the store. “He just came in and started shooting” without saying a word, one of them told The Denver Post on condition of anonymity to avoid national media attention. His roommate said the gunman “let off a couple of shots, then was silent, and then he let off a couple more. He wasn’t spraying.”

Outside, law enforcement from all over the Front Range — Jefferson County, Erie, Boulder, Longmont — was quick to respond. The Denver Police Department sent about 30 people. They came in fire trucks, ambulances, armored vehicles, helicopters and regular police cars. They even used drones to respond to the shooting.

Some wore body armor and carried rifles. Some walked on top of the store, others inside, others manning vehicles that rammed the front of the building. Authorities over a loudspeaker said the building was surrounded and that “you need to surrender.” They said to come out with hands up and unarmed.

About an hour into the livestream, a bearded, balding man was taken out of the store by police in handcuffs, wearing no shirt and no shoes, just a pair of black elastic-waist shorts and his right leg bloodied. It wasn’t known as of Monday night if this was the shooter.

King Soopers spokeswoman Kelli McGannon said the company is cooperating with investigators and will be deferring to law enforcement on all inquiries about the shooting.

“Our hearts are broken over this senseless act of violence,” she said.

People who were inside the King ...
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

People who were inside the King Soopers come out of the store with their hands on their heads, escorted by law enforcement after a shooting in the store on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder on March 22, 2021.

Watching from rooftops

The King Soopers anchors the shopping center, which is a little less than two miles from the University of Colorado campus, and includes a bank, an auto shop, restaurants and an animal hospital. It was completely blocked off by law enforcement on Monday. Main roads around the shopping center were blocked off, too.

Young people stood on the roofs of houses across the street trying to see what was going on during daylight. And dozens of people milled about, walking their dogs and trying to catch a view of the scene, before police told them to go away.

Some people were showing up to see if they could find their relatives, who were King Soopers employees, because they weren’t able to get a hold of them. They declined to speak with The Post.

Steven McHugh said his son-in-law and his two granddaughters, ages 13 and 14, were in the store as their dad got a COVID-19 vaccination. McHugh said he was told his family watched people get shot and managed to run to a staff area and hide in a coat closet until police rescued them.

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