Four years before Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa allegedly opened fire inside a King Soopers in Boulder and killed 10 people, the then-17-year-old “blacked out” in a rage and violently assaulted a classmate.
A couple of months into the 2017-2018 school year at Arvada West High School, Alissa attacked another student, Alex Kimose, who he said had been bullying him. The attack left the right side of Kimose’s face “red and swollen,” his eye partially closed, and he was bleeding from his nose and mouth, according to a police report obtained by The Daily Beast.
The report says Kimose was so upset that he was “crying and throwing up” when his father finally came to the school to pick him up. The teenager’s father immediately insisted that he was going to press charges.
Alissa claimed that Kimose had been bullying him for the past year. He said Kimose called him “racist names, called him a terrorist, and even took a video of him and put it on Snapchat” where he was called a “nerd.”
“Ahmad wrote that he ‘could not take it anymore, so I blacked out and rushed him,’” the report states, adding that the 17-year-old said he didn’t “remember the incident much.”
Kimose told school resource officer John Zubrinic that he didn’t know why Alissa attacked him, only that Alissa “came up behind him and just punched him without saying anything,” the report says. “Alex said they used to be friends.”
The report goes on to say that Alissa’s belief he was being relentlessly bullied by his classmate was never backed up by the 28 people interviewed by police, all of whom said the attack “was totally unprovoked and that Alex had never talked to Ahmad during class.” “They all stated that Ahmad appeared extremely angry and that Alex never fought back,” the report added.
Kimose was unable to be reached, and his father, Eric Kimose, did not respond to a request for comment.
Alissa was charged with a misdemeanor for the attack, which did not bar him from later obtaining the firearms with which he allegedly opened fire Monday afternoon in a Colorado grocery store, killing ten people, including one police officer. Authorities say Alissa walked through the store with a rifle and pistol, firing a slew of shots before stripping off his combat vest and clothing and surrendering himself to a SWAT team.
Investigators said that after the wounded, bloodied 21-year-old was hauled away from the crime scene, he asked for his mother.
While police have not provided any details on what motivated the Monday massacre, family members described Alissa to The Daily Beast as “very anti-social” and paranoid.
“The guy used to get bullied a lot in high school. He was like an outgoing kid, but after he went to high school and got bullied a lot, he started becoming anti-social,” Ali Aliwi Alissa, his 34-year-old brother, said. He added that Alissa, a former high-school wrestler who was born in Syria but raised in Colorado, did not commit Monday’s tragedy as a “political statement, it’s mental illness.”
Stephanie Bashford, the teacher who was in the classroom when the 2017 incident happened, told police it all started at the end of her fifth-period math class when she saw Alissa punch Kimose in the face. Kimose fell to the ground, and Alissa continued to punch him until the teacher and another student broke it up, she said.
Bashford told Alissa to stay after class, but he walked out as soon as the bell rang. She said Kimose “did not fight back at all,” and appeared to be in shock. Alissa, on the other hand, “had a ‘look of pure anger’ on his face” during the encounter, the report states.
Several other students also corroborated Bashford’s statement, telling Zubrinic that Alissa came out of nowhere and “started to push and hit Alex on the floor.” One student said that when he tried to break up the incident, Alissa “continued to punch Alex in the face” while Kimose yelled at him to stop.
Another student said he had heard Alissa talking about Kimose, stating: “I’m going to slap the shit out of that kid someday.” Minutes later, Alissa was standing over a “bloodied Alex,” according to the report.
Other students interviewed by police also said Kimose had never bullied Alissa, with some saying the two teenage boys had previously been friends while others said they never even saw them speak. All, however, agreed that Alissa approached Kimose without cause and seemed “furious” and “angry” throughout the fight.
Zubrinic wrote that after interviewing the dozens of students, he approached then-17-year-old Alissa, who insisted that “Kimose had been harassing him and calling him names, so he hit him.”
“Ahmad then told that Alex has been mean to him in the past, and has called him racist names, like ‘terrorist’ and ‘sand n****,” the report states, adding that Alissa said “Alex also took a video of him in the classroom and put it on the internet.” Alissa said that the day of the fight, he saw Kimose laughing and that he was “making fun of him.”
Zubrinic added in the report that the “school nor I had never been informed of the allegations that Alex called him racist names or made fun of him. Ahmad stated that he had never told us. I told him if it happened in the future that he needed to let the police or the school know about it, and we would investigate it.”
Alissa pleaded guilty to the assault charge and was sentenced to two months of probation and 48 hours of community service in connection with that episode.
A second police report shows Alissa had at least one other run-in with authorities—he was questioned in 2018 after his brother's ex-girlfriend alleged that some of her belongings had been intentionally damaged. After a fight, Abrianna Maldonado had moved out of the home she shared with the brother, Imad. When she came back to retrieve her belongings, Maldonado said she found various pieces of furniture that belonged to her had been damaged. Ahmad was questioned as part of the investigation but officers ultimately concluded there was “no proof of who damaged the property.”
Alissa denied involvement and was not charged with a crime.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Abrianna Maldonado as the ex-girlfriend of Ahmad Alissa, though she was in fact the ex-girlfriend of his brother, Imad Alissa.