When a gunman opened fire in a King Soopers in Boulder on Monday, 10 lives were cut short. Those included a Boulder police officer, three grocery store employees, and shoppers who happened to go there that afternoon to buy food.
Here’s what we know about those who were lost:
If you’d like to share information about someone who died in the King Soopers shooting, send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denny Stong, 20
Denny Stong was a bit introverted, but he was always kind and helpful to his classmates at Fairview High School, Carina Kehoe remembers.
“He was nice,” she said.
Kehoe was a year behind Stong at the school and didn’t know him very well. But in the classes the two were in together he was always respectful of his teachers. She often saw him working at the Table Mesa King Soopers when she went to buy groceries with her family.
Kehoe and Stong also went to elementary school together at Bear Creek Elementary School not far from the store. She remembers him walking to school with his parents and his family’s cute dog, which would draw the attention of many students each morning.
See all of The Sun’s coverage of the Boulder King Soopers shooting.
The Boulder Valley School District says Stong graduated from Fairview in 2019.
“He was a kind soul with a funny sense of humor and unique interests,” James Noland wrote in an online fundraising page for Stong’s family. “… He did nothing wrong and deserved this in no way at all. He made no choice that led to this. He simply showed up to work, and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
On Facebook, Stong posted about being an essential worker during COVID-19. “I can’t stay home,” read a message surrounding his profile picture. “I am a grocery store worker.”
A King Soopers spokesperson said in a statement that the company is learning of “truly heroic acts that included associates, customers and first responders selflessly helping to protect and save others.”
“We will remain forever grateful to the first responders who so bravely responded to protect our associates and customers,” the statement said.
Neven Stanisic, 23
Neven Stanisic was the son of Serbian refugees who came to the United States from Bosnia in the late 1990s to escape war, according to the family’s church.
“They fled the war. They were able to survive,” said Rev. Radovan Petrovic of Saint John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Church in Lakewood. “They came here to start a new life and they were working hard. To have this happen to them, that’s something that they cannot comprehend, that they were struck with this tragedy in the United States.”
Stanisic’s parents and his younger sister are devastated and trying to organize services for their son, said Petrovic, who was handling various media calls for the family.
“He was a really good boy, good kid,” he said. “Very loving and well-mannered, and a hard-working boy.”
Stanisic started working right after high school and had two jobs, including one for a maintenance company that repaired machines for Starbucks and other stores. On the afternoon of the shooting, he was at Starbucks inside the King Soopers repairing a machine, Petrovic said. Stanisic had just finished the job and returned to his vehicle. He sat in the driver’s seat and was shot dead.
It pains Petrovic even more to know that Stanisic almost got away.
“Seconds were in question,” he said. “I think he was the first victim. This is very tragic for us. It’s devastating for his family and his loved ones.”
News stories were written about Stanisic in Serbia, and Marko Djuric, Serbia’s ambassador to the United States, tweeted his condolences to Stanisic’s family.
“I was deeply saddened by the tragic incident in Boulder, Colorado yesterday,” he wrote. “We offer our most profound condolences to all the citizens of the United States, and our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims, one of whom was Neven Stanisic of Serb origin.”
Rikki Olds, 25
Rikki Olds was a manager at King Soopers. In a Facebook post with the young woman’s photo, her aunt asked, “Why you why not me? You haven’t even lived yet.”
Lori Olds also wrote: “The Lord got a beautiful young angel yesterday at the hands of a deranged monster.”
The 25-year-old Centaurus High School graduate was a workaholic who loved to play golf and softball, and was known for a bubbly personality and infectious sense of humor.
“Rikki showed up at the house and you never knew what color her hair would be. You never knew what new tattoos she would have,” said Robert Olds, Rikki’s uncle, at a news conference Wednesday where he spoke on behalf of the family.
Coworkers nicknamed her “Wendy” because Rikki was always changing the color of her hair and wore two braids.
“She would dance, flail her arms – anything to make you smile, make you laugh,” said Carlee Lough, a close friend and coworker at King Soopers. “If you were pushing a cart or something, she would block your way, dance, put her hands up, joke with you.”
“She was a snorter when she laughed hard,” her uncle said.
A coworker, Jeff Hooker, stopped by the Table Mesa King Soopers on Tuesday to leave flowers for Olds and others. “At the young age of 25, she was quite mature and carried a lot of responsibilities,” he said.
Olds was a front-end manager in customer service and the check-out area, Hooker said. He had the day off yesterday, but was on his way to the store Monday afternoon to bring bread requested by the store manager when he got phone notifications about the shooting.
Olds family struggled to find out what had happened to her after the shooting.
“We had to wait and agonize over her fate for several hours,” Robert Olds told CNN. “After calls to the police department and every local hospital and the coroner’s office, we finally received a call back from the coroner’s office.”
Olds family also sent a statement to CBS4 saying “no one can replace Rikki.”
Rikki’s mother was not in her life, but as a result she tried to be a nurturing presence for others, her uncle said, including her younger brother.
“She has a little brother who is taking this really tough,” said Robert Olds.
Olds graduated from Centaurus High School in Lafayette in 2013. She attended classes at Front Range Community College and had plans to pursue a career in nursing, but she changed paths and was hired by King Soopers in 2016. She quickly moved up the ranks at the grocery store chain.
Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
Lonna Bartkowiak managed Umba, a Boulder shop specializing in yoga and festival clothing, her younger brother Michael told The New York Times. She had gone to King Soopers to get a prescription, he said.
Michael, who lives in Roseburg, Oregon, remembers his sister as “just a beam of light,” according to the story. She was the oldest of four siblings born in California and had moved to Boulder to run the store, which their sister opened. Bartkowiak rented a house near Boulder, where she lived with her Chihuahua, Opal, and had recently gotten engaged, her brother told the Times.
Customers and other small retailers used social media to mourn the loss of their friend. “She was the kindest and sweetest lady you ever did know,” Boulder photographer Edica Pacha wrote on Facebook. “All she wanted to do was help and share beauty with others. I am heartbroken for her family.”
Liana Camero wrote on Instagram that Lonna was “one of my favorite people in Boulder.”
“She’d be so forthcoming with her dreams, and all the things she’s overcoming that make her appreciate it all,” Camero wrote. “I couldn’t help but feel her true spirit. She was always so full of light and love and kindness.”
Boulder Police Department Officer Eric Talley, 51
Eric Talley was a Boulder Police officer with a decade of law enforcement work under his belt. The father of seven children, ranging in age from 7 to 20, joined the police department after a career in information technology.
“It was remarkable to me that somebody would go to law enforcement from IT,” Jeremy Herko, a Arapahoe County Sheriff’s officer and a friend of Talley’s, told The Washington Post. “He lost pay. He lost time away from his family. He joined the police academy without a guaranteed job.”
Talley made headlines in the local paper in 2013, when he and two other Boulder cops rescued a duck and her 11 ducklings from a drainage ditch near the shopping center where he was killed on Monday afternoon.
“He’s a very kind man,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said of Talley “He didn’t have to go into policing. He had a profession before this, but he felt a higher calling. He’s everything that policing deserves and needs. He cared about this community. He cared about the Boulder Police Department. He cared about his family.”
Talley attended high school at Highland High School in Albuquerque.
“You remember that guy in high school who was just a solid person, who was a good person? That was Eric,” classmate Mo Chavez told The New Mexican.
Teri Leiker, 51
Teri Leiker worked in the grocery store for about 30 years and “it was her favorite thing to do,” a friend posted on Facebook.
Lexi Knutson wrote that she met Leiker in 2017 through Boulder Best Buddies, an agency that matches University of Colorado student volunteers with people in the community who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Teri was the most selfless, innocent, amazing person I have had the honor of meeting,” Knutson wrote. “Her shy friendship towards me turned into a sort of sisterhood. Teri and I were the dynamic duo of Best Buddies and in Boulder. We frequently took Boulder by storm: the Sink, Pearl Street, CU sporting events, etc. Teri was a CU Boulder super fan.”
Knutson said she and Leiker spoke weekly on the phone, and usually at 6 a.m. because that’s when Leiker liked to talk. Leiker ended the calls by saying, “love your buddy, Teri.”
Leiker leaves behind her family, a boyfriend and many close friends, Knutson wrote.
“To think Teri was murdered while simply doing her job angers me,” she said. “The fact that a man decided to take away so much from so many in a matter of seconds angers me. If you think we don’t need any sort of gun reform, you’re wrong. We can’t go to movie theaters without fear. We can’t go to school without fear. We can’t go to music events without fear. Now add going to the grocery store to that list.”
Suzanne Fountain, 59
Suzanne Fountain, 59, was a volunteer house manager at eTown Hall, the solar-powered community events hub in downtown Boulder where eTown’s syndicated radio programming and podcasts are created.
Her colleagues at eTown posted that they were stunned and mourned the deaths of all 10 people killed Monday afternoon, but especially Fountain.
“Our dear friend and house manager at eTown Hall, was among the victims. Suzanne was a bright light to all she met, and we were proud to have her represent eTown in our community as she welcomed people into our space hundreds and hundreds of times,” they wrote on Facebook. “This is an unfathomable loss for all of us and a painful reminder that our society can and must do a better job to prevent these acts of violence from becoming normalized in our culture. This is heartbreaking.”
Fountain worked as a financial counselor at Boulder Community Health, helping clients navigate Medicare.
She also was an accomplished actor with credits in a number of regional theaters, including the Denver Center Theater Company for two seasons, 1990-91 and 1991-92. Writing in the Denver Post in 1988, theater critic Alan Stern called Fountain “utterly compelling ” in the role of Laura in “The Glass Menagerie” at the Victorian Theater. More recently, Fountain won praise for her 2002 performance in “Wit” at the Nomad Theater in Boulder. A review of the performance said Fountain brought simple but crucial compassion to the play.”
Randy Myler, director, playwright and casting director at the Denver Center some 30 years ago, recalls Fountain “in three or four of our shows at that time, she was very, very talented and very smart. She was a pro, the real deal. She always had that combination: smart, talented, a person you could be locked in a rehearsal hall with for 30 days.
“She was one of the cream of the crop and a good person, a good soul,” he said.
Kevin Mahoney, 61
Erika Mahoney, a news director at a public radio station in California, shared a tribute to her father, Kevin, 61, who was killed in the shooting in her hometown of Boulder. She said he was “my hero” and she was thankful he had walked her down the aisle at her wedding last summer.
“My dad represents all things Love. I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer, she said on Twitter in a tribute to her father.
“I am now pregnant. I know he wants me to be strong for his granddaughter,” she wrote.
Erika Mahoney, speaking to National Public Radio, said her parents lived five minutes from the Table Mesa King Soopers. He was in the hotel business but retired early.
“He traveled a lot and he went skiing a lot,” Erika told NPR. “He visited me a lot.”
Lynn Murray, 62
Lynn Murray, 62, was a retired photo director for New York City magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Glamour, her husband, John Mackenzie, told The New York Times.
The couple moved to Boulder with their two children in 2002. She was filling an Instacart order on Monday, which she “enjoyed doing to help people since her retirement,” according to the story.
“I just want her to be remembered as just as this amazing, amazing comet spending 62 years flying across the sky,” he told the Times.
Instacart Founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta released a statement mourning Murray’s loss.
“Today, we mourn the devastating loss of a member of the Instacart shopper community,” Mehta said. “Our deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of all those impacted by this shooting, as well as the King Soopers family and the community of Boulder. Violence of any kind has no place in our society.”
Murray was a graduate of Mentor High School in northeast Ohio.
Jody Waters, 65
Jody Waters was the kind of person who knew everyone.
Waters used to own Applause, a boutique selling women’s and children’s clothing and accessories on Pearl Street Mall, that had outposts in Cherry Creek North and FlatIron Crossing mall.
“It was just this great store. Just this really cool boutique. All the ladies in my demographic shopped there,” said State Rep. Judy Amabile, a Boulder Democrat. “She was just super engaging. Dynamic and beautiful.”
More recently, Waters was working at Island Farm, another boutique on the mall.
Amabile said Waters remembered all of her customers and their favorite brands. If a piece of merchandise came into the store that a customer might like, she would call the customer up personally.
“I think she knew a lot of people in town,” Amabile said.
Emabrazio Leather posted on Instagram that Waters had worked for the company.
“Jody was a beautiful soul with a warm and loving heart,” the company said. “A mother and a grandmother … she will be dearly missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her. We are so sad.”
Colorado Sun staff writers Jason Blevins, Erica Breunlin, Jennifer Brown, Tamara Chuang, Dana Coffield, Jesse Paul and Thy Vo contributed reporting, as did correspondent Joanne Ostrow.
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