By Donnie Antoine
On March 22, 2021, a mass shooting occurred in Boulder, Colorado at the King Soopers supermarket fatally killing 10 people. Among the 10 victims was a 51-year-old police officer named Eric Talley, who was the first to respond to the scene. The other nine victims ranged from in age from 20 to 65 years old. The gunman has been identified by police as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. According Catie Edmonson of The New York Times, law enforcement officials have reported that the weapon used in the attack was an AR-15 style pistol modified with an arm brace. Mr. Alissa was also wearing an armored vest and carrying a 9mm handgun during the attack. Following this attack Mr. Alissa has been charged 10 counts of first-degree murder and one charge of attempted murder, and if convicted faces a penalty of life imprisonment without parole.
The motive in this case is currently still unclear. However, upon having his first appearance in court, it has been stated that the suspect has an unspecified mental illness. Mr. Alissa’s brother has also come forth in claiming that he may have been suffering from mental illness as well as saying he believes the suspect was paranoid. In 2014 the suspect became paranoid at an alarming rate, claiming that he was being followed and chased, and even putting duct tape on the camera on his computer so as to not be seen. Mr. Alissa’s brother has also told CNN that the suspect struggled with bullies in high school with them making fun of his name and for being Muslim.
This in fact is not the first offense of the suspect as Mr. Alissa was previously found guilty in 2018 of charges of assault. Alissa, a then 18 years old, was accused of attacking a classmate at Arvada West High in November of 2017. According to the report in the case file, Alissa went into a classroom, walked over to the victim and cocked him in the head. He then went on top of the victim and punched him in the head several more times. The victim was reported having bruises, as well as swelling and cuts to the head. Alissa claimed that the victim “had made fun of him and called him racial names weeks earlier.” According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s database, Alissa was sentenced to one year probation and 48 hours of community service. On March 16, six days before the shooting, Mr. Alissa was reported to have purchased a Ruger AR-556. According to the owner of the store, John Mark Eagleton, as reported to CNN, a background check was conducted on the suspect, as is required by Colorado law, and the approval of the sale was provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Reports say that nothing in the federal system would have prevented the suspect from passing the background check and purchasing the firearm.