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All 10 Victims of Colorado Shooting Now Identified; Suspect Charged with 10 Counts of First-Degree Murder. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired March 23, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SCHNEIDER, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHAIR: Investigation and bring justice to the victims. Thank you.
DIONNE WAUGH, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, BOULDER POLICE DEPARTMENT: We'll now take a few questions.
REPORTER: Is the suspect in custody, is that man that you see in the video that was shot from the helicopter yesterday afternoon being escorted out by two officers with a bloody leg? Is that suspect that we're speaking of?
WAUGH: We'll be releasing a photo of the suspect.
REPORTER: Can you tell us at all if anything about the suspect's injuries?
CHIEF DOREEN JOKERST, COLORADO UNIVERSITY BOULDER POLICE: He suffered a leg wound. It was through and through wound to his leg, midsection of his leg.
REPORTER: Is that from one of your officers?
JOKERST: We're not sure at this time.
REPORTER: Did investigators (INAUDIBLE) have they provided a motive.
JOKERST: No, no motive at this time. Nothing. I think it's in the press release.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's in the press release.
REPORTER: Have investigators spoke to him?
JOKERST: At this time, investigators have spoken with him. And I would like Michael Dougherty who is running that section of the investigation -- Michael, do you want to speak to that?
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY, BOULDER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I do want to stress we're in the very early stages of the investigation. The arrest affidavit and warrant is going to be released later today. Once he is booked into the Boulder County jail. And we're doing that to provide as much information as we can as soon as we can.
In terms of statements that he may have made to investigators, first, I want to stress that he's innocent unless and until proven guilty, of course, as we do in every case. But more importantly, to your question, we're collecting the statements now and we'll be providing those in the weeks ahead. I don't have a list of the statements he's made up to this point. And the investigation is still in the very early stages.
REPORTER: Can you tell us any more about it? (INAUDIBLE)
DOUGHERTY: His name and his -- the community in which he lived is included in the press release, and yes, it was Arvada (ph). And I know there is an extensive investigation getting under way in his background. He lived most of his life in the United States. Beyond that, we're still in the early stages of the investigation.
DOUGHERTY: Sorry. At this time, we fully believe, we're very confident that the community is safe. And that he -- I'm sorry. Just one second. And that he was the only person involved. Obviously, it's early in the investigation. We're going to continue to run down over lead.
I will just briefly say there was name going around, social media and the media yesterday. You will recognize that it's not the individual who has been charged. We don't believe there was any connection whatsoever between those two individuals. So to the extent that was reported on in the media and social media, I think people are doing their best to get information out. But he does not appear to be connected to this at all.
REPORTER: This question is for the chief. It seems that in describing the names of the deceased and what happened that this wasn't just -- this was very difficult. Can you describe what emotions you're going through right now?
CHIEF MARIS HEROLD, BOULDER POLICE: No, it's -- it's hard. It's challenging. I live three blocks up the street from that store. You're worried about your neighbors. You're worried about your partner, you're worried about everything when you get that call.
And so, yeah, I feel numb. And it's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking to talk to victims, their families. You know, it's tragic.
This officer had seven children, ages 5 to 18. I just had that officer's whole family in my office two weeks ago to give him an award. And so it is personal. This is my community. I live here.
And to have something happen to close to where you live and to know the fear in the community and to know that the officers sacrifice themselves. It's heartbreaking.
REPORTER: Can you talk more about Officer Talley, what he was like?
HEROLD: Yeah. I can tell you that he's a very kind man. He didn't have to go into policing. He had a profession before. This he felt a higher calling. And he loved this community. And he's everything that policing
deserves and needs. He cared about this community. He cared about Boulder Police Department. He cared about his family.
And he was willing to die to protect others. And that gets lost in translation.
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) shoppers and workers as well.
HEROLD: I don't know all the details at this point. I know I spoke to some of their families. And I can just tell you that they're heart broken. And this is the worst call you can ever receive as a family member.
REPORTER: Some of them are in their 20s, CU Boulder students?
HEROLD: Not that we know of. We checked with CU. At this time, we do not believe, obviously, preliminary information. But at this time we do not believe there were any CU students.
REPORTER: Can you share anything about the order of events? When the first police call came in and what happened after that?
HEROLD: I am not -- I just know we started receiving calls for service at 2:30 p.m. and obviously, we received called for shots fired and calls of a man with a patrol rifle and they came in back to back to back.
HEROLD: Yeah, the officer's award was for Officer Talley's son. Officer Talley taught his CPR. He taught his family CPR. And Officer Talley, one of his sons swallowed a quarter. And because Officer Talley taught his children CPR, one of his sons was able to save the little boy's life.
And so the Boulder Police Department just gave his son an award for life saving.
REPORTER: Chief, I can't imagine what you're going through. I'm sure your department is just in shock. What do you tell your officers that are going out for another day of work?
HEROLD: All of my officers are doubled up. And thanks to the state and all of the local authorities that are here have offered to run calls of service for us. And none of my officers want to do that so we partnered them up. And they want to be out with the community.
REPORTER: Chief, what did you tell them? I know you're talking of your capacity, you're the chief. What do you tell them (INAUDIBLE)?
HEROLD: I tell them I'm sorry. We're going to get through this. Don't close your compassion and we'll get through this and we'll come out of it stronger. REPORTER: Chief, can you talk more about Officer Talley's actions
DOUGHERTY: So I think we're almost going to -- we're about to wrap up questions and just to fill in for one of the questions that was asked, Chief Herold met with some of the victims' families last night. Other victim's families were notified by other members of the Boulder Police Department and the coroner's office and those notifications are completed as reflected in the press release at around 4:00 in the morning.
You asked about how officers are doing and someone asked about the mood among the investigators. I would describe it as very determined and very focused. There is a lot work to be done. So, we have local, state, and federal law enforcement inside this building and at the crime scene and at different locations throughout the metro area working on this case right now.
So to answer your question, I would say the group very focused on the work that is going to be done. We recognize the trauma that is inflicted upon the victims' families and also upon our community. And that is going to drive us to do everything we need to do to see this case with the right result.
So, I'm going to turn it over to Dionne.
REPORTER: What (INAUDIBLE) were fired? What kind of weapon the suspect used?
DOUGHERTY: So, some of this information is contained in the arrest affidavit that is coming out today. Some details need to be nailed down. I'll hold off on that and after the after the affidavit comes out if, you have additional questions about it, can you let me know or let Dionne know if you don't mind. But that is still in the early stages.
The crime scene is being processed thanks to the evidence recovery team of the FBI. I mean, they're the best of the best. So, they're going to be at the King Soopers I anticipate for the next couple days and we'll continue to have updates about the crime scene, the investigation, and the prosecution of the individual who is wholly responsible for the ten victims who were killed.
DOUGHERTY: I anticipate the suspect will be released from the hospital today. Obviously, that's based on what his doctors are saying so that could change, of course. But if he is released to day, he'll be transported to the boulder county jail, booked into the jail and then the affidavit and warrant will be available to all of you.
I'm going to turn it back over to Dionne. But I really do appreciate all of you being here today. Thank you.
WAUGH: We appreciate all the questions. This is all the time we have for the questions this morning. [11:10:02]
Thank you everyone for coming. We'll continue to have updates. I'm going to send out this press release to everyone. Thank you, everyone.
I can spell any names and I can print out more of these. I can just e- mail all of them to you. But that is all the questions we can take this morning.
We will hope to have another update later today. We will post that information on Twitter as soon as we know. You want me to spell the names?
REPORTER: The suspect?
WAUGH: All right. The suspect, Ahmed, A-H-M-A-D, al, A-L, and the next word, A-L-I-W-I, last name, A-L-I-S-S-A.
WAUGH: I do not know. I know we have a local address in Arvada. He is 21 years of age, 21.
Victim names? Denny Strong. D-E-N-N-Y. Strong, S-T-R-O-N-G. He was 20 years old.
Neven Stanisic. First name, N-E-V-E-N. Last name, S-T-A-N-I-S-I-C, 23.
Rikki Olds. R-I-K-K-I, Olds, O-L-D-S, 25.
Tralona Bartkowik, T-R-A-L-O-N-A, last name B-A-R-T-K-O-W-I-K. B as in boy, 49.
Suzanne Fountain. S-U-V-A-N-N-E, Fountain, F-O-U-N-T-A-I-N, 59.
Teri Leiker. T-E-R-I, last name, L-E-I-K-E-R, 51.
Eric, E-R-I-C, T-A-L-L-E-Y. 51.
Kevin Mahoney. K-E-V-I-N, M-A-H-O-N-E-Y, 61.
Lynn Murray, L-Y-N-N, M-U-R-R-A-Y, 62.
Jodie Waters. J-O-D-Y, W-A-T-E-R-S, 65.
And again, we have assigned a PIO liaison to each of the families. Please respect their privacy. The liaison will let you know if they are interested in speaking with any of you. Please respect their privacy.
WAUGH: I am not sure. That is public information. Sadly, we have to let them know. So, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. WAUGH: Thank you. I'm going to e-mail this out with all this
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
You've been listening to this news conference. An important one out of Boulder, Colorado.
Let may first get to CNN's Dan Simon. He's been on the ground for us throughout.
Dan, a lot of information just came out just now.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We heard a lot, Kate. And first of all, authorities have the very grim task of having to remove all the bodies from the super market. And that happened very early this morning in the overnight hours. They removed all ten bodies.
And you just heard officials there named all the victims. I can tell you they range in age from 20 to 65 years of age. And authorities for the first time just named the identity of the suspect.
He has been identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa of Arvada, Colorado.
We understand that he is currently in the hospital in stable conditions. Authorities describe how an officer went into the grocery store. There was an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. The suspect was struck at least one time, was taken to the hospital.
You saw the images when he was leaving the grocery store. He had blood on his leg. He was taken to the hospital. He is now in stable condition.
But we're told that he will be taken to the jail very shortly and charged with ten counts of murder.
Kate, you heard from all of these various officials expressing their sorrow, expressing their condolences to the families of this victim. This is a community that is very much in shock. It is also a community that has gone through this before.
You talk about Columbine and Aurora, Colorado, and now, you're dealing with another shooting here in Colorado in the town of Boulder.
We know that this is going to be a very lengthy investigation. They said it could go on for as long as a year. But in the meantime, police still at the supermarket behind me still going through the scene, processing various items, continuing to talk to witnesses. They look at the surveillance video and, again this is going to be a very lengthy investigation. BOLDUAN: Joining us also right now, Dan, is Juliette Kayyem, former
assistant of the Department of Homeland Security.
Juliette, your reaction to what you just heard.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So it's -- it got complicated for a variety of reasons and some hints that were said in the press statement.
First, of course, acknowledgement of the victims and the age range which is quite incredible. A young, young adult male, two senior citizens all at a market for random reasons. The second that the investigation will take this long.
But third, of course, is the suspect. At one stage the police chief said that he spent most of his time in the United States. And so he is an American citizen. I didn't know what she meant by that, and I don't know what's implied by that.
So we're just saying what she said. But now the investigation will focus on him and his motives. He -- and what I want to focus on is guns and the possibility that he -- or why he chose that supermarket. And so that's where we -- that's where we focus right now and any other suspicion or speculation at this stage we just don't know enough.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. Jonathan Wackrow, CNN law enforcement analyst. Your reactions to this?
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, listen, this is tragically became old during the pandemic is new again with the mass shootings. It underscores the dynamic and unpredictable nature of these events and again, look at the victims we have, the age range, the representative of any town USA. You go into a market. You're going to find a variety of people.
These people just went about their lives and they were interrupted by this murderer. I mean, the -- we'll see the arrest affidavit later on. I understand that he is being charged with first-degree murder, and that is intentional murder with willful -- that is willful and premeditated.
So, there's a degree of confidence that there was preplanning that was put into this attack. And, you know, the prosecution and the investigation is still on going. But that's a little -- another signal coming out of the press conference room this morning.
Evan Perez also with us.
Federal law enforcement spoke and have been on the ground since the beginning, Evan. What's their involvement?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things, Kate, that they're doing is helping the Boulder police go through this crime scene. This is obviously you have ten victims and the fact is that the FBI does have capabilities that a lot of local police departments do not have.
But I think it is also clear that the FBI, the ATF, the Justice Department you heard from the acting U.S. attorney in Denver there, they also are trying to make sure and trying to verify whether the motivation behind the shooting has any federal angles. Whether there is any federal crimes that could be charged against the suspect.
The suspect is alive. So, obviously, he's going to face charges for murder in the state system. But if there is anything in federal law that has been violated, for instance, if there is any association with groups, terrorism, any of those things would become -- it would become an FBI case, it would become a Justice Department case.
What I, at this point, you heard from the officials there. They're not disclosing any motivation. That is one of the things that the FBI is doing. They're helping with some of the interviews with people who know the suspect, people who -- the family members.
They're going to go through his travel as Juliette mentioned. The police official there said that he spent most of his time in the United States. So what -- where was he during the times he wasn't. How recent was that? What groups perhaps that he could have interacted with during those travels?
All of those things, it comes under the FBI's purview. Another thing that I think the FBI is very helpful on is going through any of the social media and his devices to see whether he wrote something or left something to indicate his motivation.
Again, at this point, they're not disclosing it. And it appears it's not entirely clear to the officials. That's one reason why you see the FBI still there, still working on this investigation.
BOLDUAN: And, Juliette, the D.A. said they have a lot of work to be done. This is going to take a very long time. But I don't know if it hit you. It hit me how long it took for the official to even read out and spell the makes it of the victim, just how many people were killed here.
KAYYEM: Right. And I actually appreciate how long it took. I thought it was important for the police department to focus on the victims, their names, their ages, just the diversity of Boulder, Colorado, anyone who's been there knows that a lot of people enjoy it, a lot of people live there. It is a fun, funky town, as most people know.
So, I thought -- I appreciated the length of time. They reason why it took so long to get the bodies out is, of course, they have to reconstruct what happened at every moment. So where the bodies are, where bullets are, where people are, the witnesses, all of that had to be photographed and had to be assessed.
And so that's why it took until I think she said 2:30 in the morning. BOLDUAN: Yeah, 2:02 in the morning is what I wrote down, the last
victim removed from the scene, 3:55, all of the families and 3:55 this morning, all of the families were notified.
Thank you all very much.
We want to keep a focus on the victims while this investigation is under way. Those who witnessed the attack and their families are really still trying to make sense of this tragedy. Just listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MCHUGH, FAMILY WAS AT SUPERMARKET SHOOTING: Paul was in line to go get a COVID-19 shot, third person in line. And that's when at least one shooter came in and killed the woman at the front of the line, in front of him.
They ran upstairs to hide and hid in a coat closet standing up for 45 minutes. Extraordinarily terrifying. Of course, the little one saying, yeah. You know, the coats weren't long enough to hide our feet as they were standing behind the coats in the closet.
SARAH MOONSHADOW, SHOOTING WITNESS/SURVIVOR: I just looked at my son, and I told him in between shots, by the fourth shot, I started counting. And I told him we have three seconds. Stay low and don't look and just move fast and he almost hesitated.
And I just told him, we don't have another option. We don't have any more -- any other chance to get out of here.
ANNA HAYES, SHOOTING WITNESS: I initially heard maybe ten gun shots. I also saw the gunman himself holding a semiautomatic rifle. He entered the building through the handicap entrance and a few seconds later, I saw people running out of the building.
I heard screaming. I heard people leaving in their cars and it just devolved into chaos within just a couple of minutes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And sadly, these are the people and families that are lucky today because they are alive still.
We're just beginning to learn the details now about the ten victims of yesterday's mass shooting. Those names were just released. Each person killed in the attack. They're also -- they also have released the first photo of one of the victims.
Let me bring in CNN's Stephanie Elam that is starting to work through all of this for us.
Stephanie, what are you learning?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you take a look, Kate, at the age range of the people who lost their lives, you're looking at people from the age of 20 up through 65 years old and we actually now heard all ten of the names of people who lost their lives. I think it's worth taking a moment to listen to their names again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEROLD: I'm going to read the names of the deceased. Denny Strong, 20 years old. Neven Stanisic, 23. Rikki Olds, 25. Tralona Bartkowik , 49. Suzanne Fountain, 59.
Teri Leiker, 51. Officer Eric Talley, 51. Kevin Mahoney, 61. Lynn Murray, 62. Jody Waters, 65.
Our hearts go out to all the victims killed during this senseless act of violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: And now we have an image of one of the people besides Officer Talley who we have seen in images of. Let's take a look now at Rikki Olds, she was 25 years old. She was a manager there at this grocery store chain.
Her uncle confirming to CNN she was from Lafayette where she lived alone. She was raised by her grandparents. He called her energetic and charismatic and said that she was, quote, a shining light in this dark world, as he remembered his niece there.
You also have a little bit more that we learned as well about Officer Eric Talley. As you listened to the Boulder police chief, Maris Harold, talk about him a little bit more during the press conference. We know he has seven children. That he's married.
She said the ages range from 5 to 18 those children. And she said he was a kind man. And he didn't have to be a police officer. That he had a profession before he joined the force in 2010 at the age of 40.
But she said he was answering a higher calling and that he cared about the people in his community, about his family, about his co-workers. And she said that he was, quote, willing to die to protect others.
One other story she told about him, she said that he also had -- taught CPR. He made sure his kids knew it as well. He taught his son CPR. When a younger son swallowed a quarter, the older son was able to save his brother's life by using CPR. So he got an award for just that reason.
Just showing over and over again this is a man who really did care about the protection and being out there and trying to save everyone so much so that he was preparing his young children for this as well.
So just learning a little bit more about the humanity behind these people who lost their lives senselessly yesterday, Kate.
BOLDUAN: The beauty and the kindness. Stephanie, thank you so much. Stephanie, is going to be continuing to learn much more about the
victims, about their lives not just about their deaths and the last moments. We're going to bringing that you to as we get more information on that.
Still ahead, we're going to continue to follow the breaking news about the deadly shooting in Colorado including real stories of heroism, how store employees helped save others when the gun shots began to ring out.