‘He Shot Right at Us’: Gunman Kills 10 People, Including Cop, at Boulder Supermarket
Officer Eric Talley, the first cop on the scene of the rampage at King Soopers, was among those killed.
BOULDER, Colorado—James Graham was in the checkout lane at King Soopers when he heard a loud bang, followed by glass falling over him, filling the hood on his sweatshirt.
He thought something had fallen—then came the sickening realization he was being shot at.
The 47-year-old ran to the back of the sprawling supermarket, where other terrified customers and workers were escaping near a loading dock. “I can can still smell the gunpowder,” he said later.
Graham was one of the lucky ones. By the time the shooting stopped, 10 people were dead, including the first Boulder police office on the scene, from the gunman’s rifle bullets.
Police had one suspect in custody but had not released his name. There was no discussion of motive.
At a press conference Monday night, police identified the slain officer as Eric Talley, 51, who had worked for the Boulder Police Department since 2010. “I have to tell you the heroic action of this officer when he responded to this scene,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said.
“His life was cut far too short,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty added, less than hour after Talley’s body was carried away by a procession of police vehicles, their lights a blue-and-red ribbon snaking through the dark streets below the Rocky Mountains.
Reports of a shooting at the King Soopers grocery store on Table Mesa Drive came in just before 3 p.m. local time on Monday, officials said. Witnesses described a scene of sheer terror inside, as customers and workers ran for cover after hearing a series of loud bangs or seeing the attacker gun people down.
“He shot right at us. I didn’t look. I just ran,” Sarah Moonshadow, a 42-year-old south Boulder resident, told The Daily Beast, as her son stood next to her holding the strawberries they’d purchased just before the gunfire erupted.
Anna Haynes, 21, told The Daily Beast that she was looking out her window when she saw a man shoot someone on a ramp into the grocery store. She said she froze before telling her roommate.
“We just stared and we’ve been staring ever since,” Haynes said from her porch. “I saw it but I didn’t believe it.”
Mark Naughton, 53, said he, too, watched the gunman shoot someone in the middle of the parking lot while looking out his window.
“I was a terrified he might be coming across the street this way,” he said, adding that he’d just returned home from the store.
One witness told The Denver Post the suspect “didn’t say shit” before he began shooting. “He just came in and started shooting,” the witness said. Another said the gunman “let off a couple of shots, then was silent, and then he let off a couple more. He wasn’t spraying.”
A live feed from the grocery store appeared to show at least three motionless bodies at the scene, two in the parking lot and another just inside the market. The live-streamer said he heard gunshots from inside the store as he took cover in the parking lot.
Videos of the scene showed officers from various agencies, including the Jefferson County SWAT team, swarming the store about 30 minutes outside downtown Boulder. Several medical helicopters were also spotted landing at a nearby high school.
In the aftermath of the gunfire, people were escorted across the parking lot, as authorities issued a warning over a loudspeaker: “The entire building is surrounded. You need to surrender. Come out with your hands up, unarmed.”
At around 3:30 p.m., a shirtless and barefoot man in handcuffs was escorted out of the supermarket by two officers and taken to an ambulance. He appeared to have blood on his hands and legs. Another man was escorted out of the store with his hands in the air and was not handcuffed.
Police did not release the name of the suspect or explain how he was injured. They also did not discuss motive or how he obtained the weapon, which was described as a “patrol rifle,” which is often an AR-15.
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), who represents Boulder, said the 1o deaths underscored the need for stricter gun control.
“Americans should feel safe in their grocery stores. They should feel safe in their schools, their movie theaters and in their communities,” he said in a statement. “While Congress dithers on enacting meaningful gun violence prevention measures, Americans—and Coloradans—are being murdered before our very eyes—day after day, year after year.”
Colorado has been the scene of some of the nation’s worst mass shootings: the Columbine High School massacre by two students who murdered 13 people in 1999, and the 2012 attack on a movie theater in Aurora that left 12 dead.
The events in Boulder marked the second major mass shooting in the U.S. in a week, coming days after a gunman shot up three Asian massage parlors in the metro Atlanta area, killing eight people.
Just as in the Atlanta massacre, the victims of the King Soopers shooting had no warning. They were standing on line or pushing shopping carts when they had to run for their lives. Some fled out the back loading dock; others ran to an upstairs staff space; still others froze in their tracks.
Steve McHugh told CBS Denver that his son-in-law Paul and grandchildren were in the King Sooper’s pharmacy to get a COVID-19 vaccine when the chaos erupted.
“The shooter came in, shot the woman in front of them. They hid, ran upstairs,” McHugh said, adding that they were in a coat closet for an hour. “Half a dozen cops came in through the roof, got ’em—and they’re OK.”
Mason Alexander, a resident artist at Auspicious Tattoo, located a street over from King Soopers, told The Daily Beast that he was having “a regular day [when] we heard what sounded like gunshots.”
“So we went outside to investigate and a bunch of police units started rolling up. We saw multiple units of officers go by, a SWAT truck—I saw a couple of officers escorting a guy who looked like he got shot in the leg—I don’t know if it was the shooter or not,” he said. “We’re all safe in here, we’re locked inside the studio. Nobody’s injured, but we’re all a little shook up for sure.”
Ryan Borowski, who was buying soda and some chips when the gunman stormed the store, said in an emotional interview with CNN that he realized what was happening after hearing three loud bangs. He ultimately escaped with other customers out of the back of the building.
“Boulder feels like a bubble, and that bubble burst,” Borowski told CNN, his eyes tearing up. “It feels like nowhere is safe.”
Bob Sargent, a 49-year-old South Boulder resident, told The Daily Beast he was planning to go shopping at the store Monday to buy produce for his catering company when he heard about the shooting.
While he said it’s awful to witness such violence at a store he has frequented for more than 20 years, he added, “Given the current state of affairs, I’m not that shocked.”