Boulder DA, police chief say they’re continuing to search for motive in King Soopers shooting

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BOULDER, Colo. — The ATF and FBI are investigating the two firearms the Boulder shooting suspect had with him when he opened fire Monday at a King Soopers, as well as any other firearms that may be connected to him, the Boulder County district attorney announced Friday.

Boulder County DA Michael Dougherty and Boulder Police Department Chief Maris Herold both spoke at a press conference outside the Boulder Police Department in front of a memorial for Officer Eric Talley, one of the 10 people killed in the shooting.

Boulder Police Department, DA provide update on Boulder King Soopers shooting case

Herold said the suspect had two firearms on his person when he arrived at the King Soopers Monday — a semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 pistol and 9mm handgun. Police do not believe the latter was used, she said.

READ MORE: Affidavit for Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect says he bought weapon 6 days before shooting

The suspect legally purchased the AR-556 pistol at a store in Arvada, Herold said. According to an affidavit, he purchased it on March 16. Dougherty added that the ATF and FBI are helping investigate any other firearms connected to the suspect. As of now, he said the FBI, CBI and other agencies involved are doing a deep dive into the suspect’s background. They don’t have any information to share on the suspect’s motive or if the shooting was linked to terrorism, Dougherty said.

Herold said 26 law enforcement agencies have been working around the clock to investigate the mass shooting and determine a timeline.

“Like the rest of the community, we too want to know why. Why that King Soopers? Why Boulder? Why Monday?” she said. “And unfortunately, at this time we still don’t have these answers.”

Dougherty echoed this statement.

“The victims’ families and the community are desperate to know the motive,” he said. “We want to know the motive. That’s going to be the focus of all our efforts going forward.”

The suspect, 21, has been formally charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Dougherty said he will face additional attempted murder charges, among other charges, in the near future.

READ MORE: Defense asks for mental health evaluation for Boulder shooting suspect

Dougherty said his office is committed to ensure justice for the victims and their loved ones. He said the court will announce the suspect’s next court date next week. For now, he’s being held without bond.

The investigation is progressing rapidly and people are working every day and night to ensure they collect as much information as possible about the shooter, victims, witnesses and any connections between them, Dougherty said.

In less than 100 hours over four days, authorities have conducted 156 interviews, collected 223 tips and leads, and gathered about 20 digital media devices. In this same time, the Boulder County Coroner’s Office has identified all of the victims, the district attorney’s office has charged the suspect, and a team of victim advocates from across the region has worked, and will continue to work, alongside the police department and victims’ families, Herold said. She said the Boulder officer who exchanged gunfire with the suspect — who’s been with the force for 11 years — has been put on administrative leave, per department policy. He was not injured.

Herold explained that the crime scene — which includes the grocery store and parking lot — is massive. She walked through the scene Thursday, which she said “was very complex and obviously very challenging to not only myself, but the investigative team.”

Dougherty said it’s important for him to stress that the suspect has the constitutional right to a fair trial.

“I want to make sure that we use due caution in talking about the case and the facts of the case in order to protect his right to a fair trial, but also to make sure that trial takes place here in Boulder County,” he said. “If we share too much about the facts of the investigation, it’s possible we’ll see a motion by the defense to move this trial to somewhere else in the state of Colorado. I want to make sure the people of Boulder have the opportunity for this trial to be held and for justice to be done here in Boulder County.”

He said as with other mass shootings and tragedies in Colorado, there has been “tremendous” interagency assistance and cooperation. He thanked those who responded to the scene quickly Monday.

“Law enforcement response saved additional lives from being taken,” he said. “More details will be shared in the weeks ahead.”

The victims in Monday’s shooting were identified Tuesday as:

  • Denny Stong, 20
  • Neven Stanisic, 23
  • Rikki Olds, 25
  • Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
  • Suzanne Fountain, 59
  • Teri Leiker, 51
  • Officer Eric Talley, 51
  • Kevin Mahoney, 61
  • Lynn Murray, 62
  • Jody Waters, 65

Over the past few days, family, friends and colleagues of the victims have shared stories about who those people were and their impact in the community. A memorial service for Boulder Police Officer Talley is planned for Tuesday and will be livestreamed.

READ MORE: How to help victims of the Boulder King Soopers shooting

Anybody with information on the shooting is encouraged to contact the Boulder Police Department or the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) or online here.