A Loving Grandmother, a Hero Officer, an 'Angel': Here Are the Victims of the Boulder Mass Shooting
The everyday normalcy of a trip to the grocery store was shattered Monday afternoon in Boulder, Colo., when a gunman opened fire and killed 10 people.
It was the second mass shooting in a public place in the United States in six days, following last Tuesday's attacks at three separate Asian spas in the Atlanta-area, during which eight people were killed.
Prior to the Atlanta attacks, the U.S. had gone a year without a public mass shooting, although gun violence overall increased in 2020 from the previous year. The two public mass shootings in such close succession were a painful reminder that with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, the American epidemic of gun violence continues unabated.
Investigators allege the shooter was 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa of Arvada, Colo. Authorities have not discussed a motive.
He has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder. He has yet to enter pleas, and police say he was injured during an exchange of gunfire with police. The suspect was captured on video being led from the supermarket by two officers — with blood, covering his right leg.
Below are the victims of the Boulder attack. This post will be updated as information about the victims becomes known.
Officer Eric Talley, 51
Officer Eric Talley was the first to respond to the deadly grocery store shooting. He had seven children ages 7 to 20.
"He's a better father than I was," his father Homer Talley tells PEOPLE. "He loved his children more than anything else. He was very involved with his kids. He showed them love."
Talley, 51, left his IT job and became a police officer when he was 40.
He made local headlines in 2013 when he rescued several ducks from a drainage pipe.
After his death, a woman posted a personal story on Twitter about how Talley had stayed with her after she'd been victimized by domestic violence.
"Thank you for being my hero that night & thank you for being a hero to everyone in King Soopers today," she wrote.
Kevin Mahoney, 61
Boulder resident Kevin Mahoney, 61, was also killed during Monday's mass shooting. Mahoney was retired and was an avid hiker who loved camping and the Chicago Cubs.
Just this past summer, Kevin walked his daughter, Erika, down the aisle at her wedding. "My dad represents all things Love," wrote Erika Mahoney in a touching tribute she posted to Twitter.
Before his tragic murder, Kevin learned his daughter was pregnant with a girl of her own; she is due to give birth in June.
"I know he wants me to be strong for his granddaughter," Erika, the news director for a California radio station, wrote Tuesday.
Rikki Olds, 25
Speaking to CNN, Bob Olds— the uncle of King Soopers front-end manager Rikki Olds— said his niece was a "strong, independent young woman" who was raised by her grandparents.
On Facebook, Olds' aunt Lori Olds called the 25-year-old a "beautiful young angel."
"Thank you everyone for all your prayers but the Lord got a beautiful young angel yesterday at the hands of a deranged monster," Lori wrote.
On Tuesday afternoon, Lori shared a photo of Olds with the caption: "Why you why not me? You haven't even lived yet...."
Tralona 'Lonna' Bartkowiak, 49
Local shop manager Tralona "Lonna" Bartkowiak is being remembered by those who loved her as a source of light.
"I don't even know what to say," friend Edica Pacha wrote on Facebook Tuesday. "[Lonna] was the kindest and sweetest lady you ever did know. All she wanted to do was help and share beauty with others. I am heartbroken for her family. Love you Lonna.. you were such a light."
Bartkowiak was the eldest of four siblings, according to The New York Times. She lived in Boulder with her pet Chihuahua, Opal, and had recently gotten engaged.
"She was just great," her brother, Michael Bartkowiak, told the newspaper. "No, she is great. Still is."
Jody Waters, 65
On Tuesday morning, the owners of Embrazio, a leather accessories company in Boulder, posted a photo of Jody Waters to the company's Facebook page.
"Jody was a beautiful soul with a warm and loving heart, a mother and grandmother, and she will be dearly missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her," the post said about the 65-year-old woman they called their friend and colleague. "We are so sad."
Denny Stong, 20
Denny Stong, 20, of Boulder, loved motorcycles and had a dream of becoming a pilot. So to earn money for his flight school lessons, he took a job at King Soopers, where he was a "cashier, a shelf stocker and jack-of-all-trades," Laura Spicer, whose son Ben was best friends with Stong, tells PEOPLE.
"Denny was a gregarious kid," says Spicer, of Boulder. "Always had something to do and somewhere to go. He really grew up when he decided that he really wanted to become a pilot."
Stong also enjoyed flying and building model airplanes, and was getting ready for a big Civil War reenactment, The Denver Post reported.
Stong had a girlfriend and felt optimistic about his future, Spicer tells PEOPLE. "Back in like November, I asked him how things were going," she recalls. "He made a gesture with his hand like a plane getting off the tarmac, and going up in the air. And he said, 'I'm flying.' And he meant like in life."
Neven Stanisic, 23
Neven Stanisic, 23, is the second-youngest victim in Monday's tragic shooting.
"He was a wonderful young boy," Rev. Radovan Petrovic, 40, of St. John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Church in Lakewood, Colo., tells PEOPLE. He's known Stanisic since he was 6 years old. "This is unbelievable turn of events. It's heart wrecking for the family, and for our entire community. We're all deeply appalled by the news."
Stanisic's family arrived in the U.S. in the 1990s as Serbian refugees from Bosnia.
"They came here as refugees in the late '90s to start a new life and to save their lives. And to have this happen to them, it really is heartbreaking," Petrovic says.
He was very hardworking — he started working after graduating high school.
“He was a quiet and a kind person,” Petrovic adds. “He was really innocent, like all other 9 victims. He has done nothing wrong to anyone, he didn’t deserve this.”
Teri Leiker, 51
Teri Leiker had been an employee at the King Soopers supermarket for more than 30 years, according to a friend who said that working was Leiker's "favorite thing to do."
"Teri was the most selfless, innocent, amazing person I have had the honor of meeting," Lexi Knutson said in an Instagram tribute for her friend, whom she met at a CU Boulder Best Buddies meeting.
Leiker, 51, was a big fan of the University of Colorado's marching band and a regular at the Pearl Street pep rallies.
"She was so energetic and always cheering and singing along with the band whenever we were doing anything," Matthew Dockendorf, 37, Director of the University of Colorado Marching Band, tells PEOPLE. "She was like a super fan."
Leiker was always decked out in University of Colorado gear and happy to chat with members of the band.
"It was just so great to see them every week," Dockendorf says. "She was just a really kind soul."
"Teri leaves behind her family, her boyfriend Clint, and many close friends that truly cared about her," Knutson added in her Instagram post.
Suzanne Fountain, 59
Colorado-based actress Suzanne Fountain was also among the dead in Monday's shooting.
Fountain, 59, is remembered as "fearless and funny and giving and just a salt-of-the-Earth person" by her friend Martha Harmon Pardee, who told the Denver Gazette that she "wouldn't be surprised if she was confronting the mother (bleeper) who did this, to be honest with you."
Fountain worked as the house manager at the Boulder music venue eTown Hall.
The venue shared a tribute to Fountain on Facebook Tuesday, calling her "a bright light to all she met" and the shooting "heartbreaking."
"We are heartbroken by the senseless violence in Boulder yesterday," the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) said in a statement on Twitter Tuesday. "We were especially saddened to learn of the death of Suzanne Fountain, an actress who appeared with our own DCPA Theatre Company. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy."
Lynn Murray, 62
Retired photo editor Lynn Murray, who had been inside King Soopers working as an Instacart shopper at the time of the shooting, is the tenth victim in Monday's tragedy.
Murray's daughter Olivia Mackenzie told the Denver Post that her mom "was the biggest light in everybody's life. She would do anything for anybody. You can't say anything bad about her."
Murray, 62, is also survived by her husband and son.
John Mackenzie told the New York Times that he wants his wife to be remembered "as just as this amazing, amazing comet spending 62 years flying across the sky."
Murray and John moved to Colorado from New York in 2002 to raise Olivia, 24, and her brother Pierce, 22, according to the outlet.
"The most undeserving person to have to be shot down I can think of has to be my mother," Olivia told the Times, adding, "and I just wish it could have been me."