UPDATE, 10:35 p.m.: Boulder police confirmed that 10 people were killed in the mass shooting. Authorities identified the officer who was killed as Eric Talley, 51. He had been with the department since 2010. He was a husband and a father of seven children.
Boulder Police also released a picture of Talley.
The Washington Post reported that Talley left his IT job in 2010 after a friend of his died in a DUI crash. He then joined the police academy at age 40.
Officer Talley’s father said that his son was looking to get into a safer line of work as a drone operator. Instead, he was one of the first to respond to the King Soopers shooting and lost his life.
“He took his job as a police officer very seriously.He had seven children. The youngest is 7 year old. He loved his kids and his family more than anything,” Homer Talley told KMGH. “He joined the police force when he was 40 years old. He was looking for a job to keep himself off of the front lines and was learning to be a drone operator. He didn’t want to put his family through something like this and he believed in Jesus Christ.”
UPDATE, 9:05 p.m. EST: A mass shooting at a supermarket in a Colorado college town has resulted in “multiple fatalities,” including a Boulder police officer, on Monday afternoon. According to the Boulder Police Department, a suspect is currently in custody. The total number of people dead is not currently being released.
Boulder Police Commander Kerry Yamaguchi offered very little information during a tense press conference on Monday evening—noting that several were killed and at least one person was taken to a local hospital.
“We don’t have any details that we can release at this point,” he said in response to a flurry of questions from media.
“The only significant injury we are aware of is the suspect,” Yamaguchi said.
Frustrated members of the media asked why police were not sharing the total number of people killed in an attack that had occurred over three hours prior. Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said that authorities were in the process of notifying victims’ families and that more information would be made available in the next few hours.
“Active Shooter at the King Soopers on Table Mesa,” the Boulder Police Department tweeted just before 5 p.m. EST (3 p.m. local time.) “AVOID THE AREA. PIO is en-route.”
Initial reports based on police scanner chatter, which are currently unconfirmed, place the number of people dead at six or more.
Oh, man. Police scanner says 6 are dead.
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) March 22, 2021
Additional victims being found. So incredibly tragic and the numbers are going to be awful.
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) March 22, 2021
“This is not okay with me,” a man whose son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren were able to escape the violence by hiding in a closet told CBS News. “And this is putting in a big pitch for gun control. You know this—you know when it’s your family, you feel it.”
Witness to Boulder supermarket shooting tells @CBSDenver his son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren went to the pharmacy for a COVID-19 vaccine shot and the suspected shooter “shot the woman in front of them.” He says they hid in a coat closet for an hour https://t.co/DPcYtUaAJD pic.twitter.com/BrsrOV2UwK
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 22, 2021
“People my age and my generation, we’re used to this,” one survivor told local Fox affiliate KDVR. “It’s just never something I think would ever happen in my town.”
— Shaul Turner (@ShaulTurner) March 22, 2021
Late Monday, various reports on Twitter claimed “multiple people” were “down” but it is currently unclear as to the extent or number of injuries.
One widely shared video appeared to show at least one person on the floor of the King Soopers [those images are graphic]. It appeared snipers surrounded the building at one point. Hundreds of law enforcement vehicles had amassed around the shopping center as the incident and response stretched on.
Right around 5:30 p.m. EST, one person was taken out of the building in handcuffs. The man was shirtless, in his underwear, and his right leg was bleeding. It’s unclear if he was the suspect in the shooting or was just being detained.
“There’s a lot of people hurt in there,” a journalist providing a livestream of the outside of the building by ZFG Videography said.
Dozens of members of law enforcement can be seen surrounding and attempting to enter the building as the video filmed by a journalist who later identified himself as “Dean Schiller” begins.
Multiple blocks in every direction were eventually blocked off in the general area. Journalists, including Schiller, were eventually forced backwards and away from the scene.
According to local NBC affiliate 9News, “[t]he Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 3:20 p.m. said its SWAT team was en route to assist.” It appeared SWAT officers were lifted onto the roof by a firetruck ladder.
“This whole thing is ripped open,” Schiller noted in the video at one point—describing the shattered glass of the storefront. “The whole front of King Soopers is ripped open.”
“It sounds like gunshots,” he said soon thereafter during the livestream. “I keep hearing pop, pop, pop.”
Schiller also said that multiple apparent efforts to break into the supermarket were abandoned by law enforcement who appeared to be assessing the situation. At some point a drone was brought in by law enforcement in an apparent bid to survey the landscape.
The livestreamer later told local media that he was there from the beginning of the incident and quickly activated his livestream after he heard shots.
In the beginning of his video, Schiller can be seen ducking inside of the supermarket to briefly look inside. One person was visible, he said, “directly inside” on the floor. Schiller later said he saw two victims outside the store.
Police arrived on the scene within minutes.
“There were only shots within the first maybe 10 minutes,” Schiller told a local news crew—noting that he instantly understood he was present for a “live shooter situation.”
Boulder Police later designated a media staging area. They said it was “still an active scene.”
According to the Denver Post‘s Elizabeth Hernandez, 57-year-old James Bentz said he was in the meat section when the shooting began.
“I was then at the front of a stampede,” Bentz said—before escaping via the store’s back loading dock.
James Bentz, 57, said he was inside the store when shooting happened. He said he was in the meat section when he heard what he thought was a misfire, then a cadence of pops. “I was then at the front of a stampede.” He said he ended up jumping off the back loading dock to get out pic.twitter.com/GMIVxNG4Zq
— Elizabeth Hernandez (@ehernandez) March 22, 2021
Colorado politicians immediately issued statements to address the shooting.
“Like my fellow Coloradans, I am closely watching unfolding events at King Soopers in Boulder,” Gov. Jared Polis (D) tweeted. “My prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy.”
“Our office is closely monitoring the unfolding situation in Boulder,” Rep. Jason Crow (D) said via Twitter. “My heart goes out to the Boulder community as we continue to learn more. Please avoid the area and allow our first responders to do their jobs.”
Emergency notification just went out: Boulder police asking people near 17th and Grove to shelter in place while they respond to report of armed, dangerous individual. PD is investigating to determine if this is related to King Soopers shooting.
— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 22, 2021
This is a breaking news story. This post will be updated.
[images via screengrab]
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