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10 people killed — including a police officer — in shooting at Boulder King Soopers

The massacre is the latest in a string of mass shootings in Colorado over the past 25 years that have been among the most notorious and deadly in American history

Employees of the Table Mesa King Soopers store where a gunman opened fire March 22, 2021, are escorted to safety by emergency responders. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)
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BOULDER — Ten people, including a police officer, were killed in a shooting at a King Soopers store in south Boulder on Monday afternoon, sending store employees and shoppers scrambling for exits as shots rang out.

The shooting happened just before 3 p.m. at the grocery store at 3600 Table Mesa Drive. People inside the King Soopers were trying to help each other escape as they navigated the chaotic scene.

A suspect, who was wounded in the shooting, has been arrested. No motive was initially released, and neither has the person’s name. “There is no ongoing threat,” Boulder police Cmdr. Kerry Yamaguchi said.

Boulder Police Commander Kelly Yamaguchi briefs reporters after a mass shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers store in Boulder on March 22, 2021. Yamaguchi said a Boulder Police Department officer was among the dead, though declined to say how many civilians died. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said victims’ families are still being notified, but authorities said the officer worked for the Boulder Police Department.

The officer killed was identified as Eric Talley, who started with the Boulder Police Department in 2010. The 51-year-old was the first officer to arrive at the scene.

Officer Eric Talley. (Handout)

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said Talley acted heroically. “I have to tell you, the heroic action of this officer when he responded to this scene… ” Herold said, trailing off as she held back emotion. “I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.”

Further information on the victims was not released Monday night. Authorities said they would provide another update on Tuesday morning.

MORE: “He just shot at us twice!” Emergency radio traffic reveals harrowing massacre at Boulder King Soopers

Dougherty called the shooting “a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County.”

“We will stand united in support of the victims and their families to make sure justice is done,” he said.

The suspect was the only person wounded in the shooting who survived, authorities said.

Law enforcement officers stand at attention at the start of a procession for the Boulder Police officer Eric Talley who was killed during a mass shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers on March 22, 2021. Talley was the first officer to respond to the south Boulder grocery store where nine civilians also died. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Andy Arellano was working in the seafood and meat department when the shooting began. “I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I was just, like, panicking. I was just like: ‘Shit what do I do, what do I do?’ I started to call 911.”

People came running toward his section of the store, including an elderly man who was being helped by other patrons.

“Shots were more closer,” he said in an emotional interview. “I thought I was going to die.”

Arellano said he never saw the shooter.

“I don’t know if one of my coworkers is, you know…” Arellano trailed off.

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

A videographer live-streamed images from the scene that showed three people motionless on the ground, apparently victims of the shooting. One was lying face down near the entrance, another was lying in the parking lot and a third was just inside the store.

More gunfire rang out during the live stream. 

The massacre is the latest in a string of mass shootings in Colorado over the past 25 years that have been among the most notorious and deadly in American history. The Columbine High School shooting in 1999. The Aurora theater shooting in 2012. The Planned Parenthood shooting in 2015. The shooting at a Thornton Walmart in 2017.

FULL COVERAGE

See all of The Sun’s coverage of the Boulder King Soopers shooting.

Less than two years ago, a student was killed and eight more were wounded in a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

“Words can do no justice to the tragedy that has unfolded this afternoon,” Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver tweeted. “Our community will soon grieve our losses, and begin our healing. Our brave police officers and first responders have the gratitude of our entire city.”

Police outside a King Soopers grocery store where a shooting took place Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Boulder Community Health said one patient from the shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers was being treated in its emergency room.

“We are horrified and deeply saddened by the senseless violence that occurred at our King Soopers store located on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder,” Kroger, King Soopers’ parent company, said in a written statement. “The entire King Soopers family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation. We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and our store will remain closed during the police investigation.”

Authorities also responded Monday evening to an armed and dangerous person said to possibly be connected to the shooting near Boulder High School. Witnesses said tactical officers were in that area. Police later said that incident was unrelated.

At the King Soopers, television news helicopter images showed a man in handcuffs, wearing only boxer shorts and one of his legs covered in blood, being led by police from the area about an hour after the shooting started.

Dozens of heavily armed police officers — including some in tactical gear — and other first responders swarmed around the store after the shooting happened. SWAT trucks from multiple jurisdictions were also at the scene, and multiple helicopters were circling. People flooded the scene looking for information about their loved ones.

Police offers try to help a woman worried about her husband who was in the King Soopers store in Table Mesa on March 22, 2021, where a gunman opened fire and killed at least six people, including a police officer. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

A number of medical helicopters staged nearby, as well, but didn’t transport any patients from the scene. 

“We’re very early in the investigation,” Yamaguchi said. “Officers were here within minutes of the initial 911 calls and entered the building very quickly.”

Yamaguchi would not say if there was more than one shooter.

After the initial chaos subsided, police were giving commands to someone over a loudspeaker.

“Surrender to the officers,” an officer called out. “Do it now.”

A Colorado Sun reporter saw at least one person loaded into an ambulance and rushed from the scene. Some people exited the King Soopers and were tearfully receiving care from first responders.

Ben Salvo, a student at the University of Colorado, was in the area when he heard “some shots” at about 2:30 p.m. About 5 minutes later, first responders were swarming the area. “There were like 40 cop cars,” he said.

Mason Chronowski, a resident tattoo artist at Auspicious Tattoo near King Soopers, heard at least five gunshots.The shots were “super loud,” he said.

Chronowski took cover inside the tattoo shop along with two other employees and five customers. He and another tattoo artist initially walked outside when they heard a couple gunshots to see what was happening.

There was a shattered window in the business next door where it looked like a bullet had ricocheted, he said. Police units arrived and asked Chronowski and the others to stay inside.

Police respond to an active shooter situation at a grocery store in Boulder. (Lucy Haggard, The Colorado Sun)

Chronowski said he saw someone with what looked like a gunshot wound to their leg being arrested and walked out by police officers.

Chronowski was in shock with the shooting having been so close and said it was “very scary.” He’s grateful that everyone who took cover in the tattoo shop is all right.

“It happened 500 feet away from us,” he said. “It could very easily have been one of us, so we’re very thankful that it wasn’t.”

Joyce Kneebone, a manager at Great Clips located down the hill from King Soopers, locked her business down after a customer who had gotten a haircut left the store and was ordered back inside by police.

Kneebone locked the door and sheltered in the back toward an office with the customer and another employee.“We stayed out of sight,” she said. “That’s the only thing that we can do.”

Gov. Jared Polis, who lives in Boulder, said his “heart is breaking.”

Employees of the Table Mesa King Soopers store in Boulder where a gunman opened fire March 22, 2021, console each other. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

“My prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy,” Polis said in a written statement.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, the White House said. “He will be kept up to date by his team as there are additional developments,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Twitter.

ABC News reports that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, too.

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

Other Colorado politicians were also reacting to the news.

“Today’s events are simply devastating,” U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, said in a written statement. His district includes Boulder. “Like my fellow Coloradans, my heart is heavy, in grief and in anguish.”

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper said they were monitoring the situation.

“As the investigation continues, we need to revisit a national conversation about gun violence that does not regress into partisanship,” Bennet said in a written statement. “Enough is enough.”

A number of neighboring law enforcement agencies responded to Boulder to help police with the shooting. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies to the scene, and the Denver Police Department sent officers as well.

The FBI responded to the shooting as well, saying the Boulder Police Department asked for help. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives also responded to the massacre.

The driver’s side window of a food-service repair technician’s vehicle was shot out in the parking lot of the Table Mesa King Soopers store in Boulder where a gunman opened fire on March 22, 2021. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Monday’s shooting is not the first at a crowded shopping center in Colorado.

In November 2017, a man opened fire in a Thornton Walmart, killing three people shopping in the north Denver suburb. Scott Ostrem was sentenced to three life sentences in 2018. Investigators, who pieced together the shooting sequence by watching multiple surveillance camera videos, said he fired seven shots in 20 seconds, killing Victor Vasquez, 26, Carlos Moreno, 66, and Pamela Marques, 53.

In 2018, a woman was taken hostage by her husband in a hair salon at the Table Mesa shopping center in Boulder. He was found guilty of kidnapping in February 2020.

Witnesses to the King Soopers shooting are asked to call Boulder police at 303-441-3333.

Herold, the Boulder police chief, said it would take at least five days to process the King Soopers crime scene. “Obviously,” she said, “this is a very complex investigation.”

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