A gunman killed 10 people on Monday in a mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, including one police officer.
Boulder police said one person is in custody after officers responded to multiple calls of shots fired near a King Soopers grocery store and a call about a person possibly “with a patrol rifle.”
“We had a very tragic incident today,” Commander Kerry Yamaguchi of the Boulder Police Department said during a Monday evening news conference. “There was loss of life, we have multiple people who were killed in this incident, and I am sorry to have to report that one of them was a Boulder police officer.”
At a second news conference just over an hour later, Boulder Police chief Maris Herold said there were 10 fatalities, including Officer Eric Talley. The 51-year-old was one of the first police officers on the scene when the gunman fatally shot him, according to Herold, who called Talley’s actions “heroic.”
Yamaguchi said the suspect in custody had sustained injuries. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty identified the injured person as the shooter.
The Boulder Police Department tweeted at 2:49pm MDT for the public to avoid the supermarket due to an active shooter in the building. Law enforcement responded within minutes after a 911 call.
Multiple federal agencies, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting the state in its investigations. Local officials said they would do everything they could for the victims, to “fight for them and their families.”
“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” Dougherty said at the first news conference, adding that there is already an investigation underway. “We will stand united in support of the victims and their families to ensure that justice is done.”
At a second press conference, Dougherty encouraged people nationwide to send their thoughts and prayers to families of victims, but “from my perspective, there’s more for us to do than to just give them our thoughts and prayers.”
“This is not the first mass shooting we’ve had in the state of Colorado,” he said. “One thing that’s happened in response to each and every one, including today’s horrific acts, is the response that we have from” law enforcement, victim advocates, investigators and prosecutors.
A man who identified himself as a videographer and journalist said in a YouTube livestream that he was near the King Soopers when he heard several gunshots. The videographer, who was later identified as Dean Schiller in an interview with the local Fox station, said he saw multiple “bodies on the ground,” including one outside the store’s front door and one in the parking lot.
“Hey, guys, I have a couple friends in there, so let’s pray that they’re doing all right,” said the man, whose YouTube account ZFG Videography describes his work as documenting Boulder-area police activity.
A witness told KDVR-TV that he was on his way to pick up coffee at the supermarket when he came upon the shooting scene.
“I was in shock initially, when we realised what was happening,” he told the station. “Once I called my mom and said I was OK and let her know what was happening, it all kind of sunk in, and I started panicking.”
The livestream showed local police telling the shooter through a speaker that law enforcement had surrounded the building and for the shooter to come outside immediately.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office told Denver station KUSA-TV that its SWAT team also arrived to assist with the situation. The ATF tweeted at 4:21pm MDT that it was responding to the scene. The area quickly became filled with law enforcement, firetrucks and ambulances.
Police reportedly attempted to ram through the building using vans that were apparent in the livestream, according to the videographer. After more officers showed up, police then began to enter the building.
Law enforcement then walked out with a handcuffed man wearing only underwear and with blood on his leg, as shown in the graphic video below by Reuters.
At least half a dozen people were then seen being escorted out of the building by police, as apparent on the video.
“We are forever grateful to the grocery workers, customers and the first responders who acted swiftly to prevent even greater loss of life – protecting our members and all those in danger inside the store,” said Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, which represents 32 grocery workers at the King Soopers store.
“This senseless act of evil also highlights and shines a light on the best of human nature. There are news reports that after gunshots rang out, grocery workers helped customers in the store find safety, directing shoppers to an exit at the back of the store and assisted one another to escape the danger inside.”
James Bentz was in the supermarket’s meat section when he heard what he thought was a gun misfire, then several pops of gunfire, he told The Denver Post.
“I was then at the front of the stampede,” he told the Post, adding that he witnessed younger people in the store taking care of the older people and helping them escape through the back loading dock.
“It seemed like all of us had imagined we’d be in a situation like this at some point in our lives,” he said.
A man told Denver’s CBS station that he got a call from his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, who had gone into the store’s pharmacy for a Covid-19 vaccine when someone “shot the woman in front of them.” He said that his family hid in a coat closet for over an hour, texting him throughout, until police helped them safely evacuate.
“I called Boulder home for many years and sent my son to high school there,” said Shannon Watts, founder of the anti-gun violence group Moms Demand Action, in a statement. “My heart is with all those in the community devastated by this senseless shooting. We can’t and won’t accept gun violence in our supermarkets to spas to our homes, as just another fact of life. It’s past time for our leaders to act and protect us from gun violence.”
“My heart is breaking as we watch this unspeakable event unfold in our Boulder community,” tweeted Colorado governor Jared Polis. “I’m incredibly grateful to the brave men and women who have responded to the scene to help the victims of this senseless tragedy.”