No Evidence That Ammunition Magazine Used In Boulder Shooting Was Purchased Illegally

April 22, 2021
210323-BOULDER-KING-SOOPERS-SHOOTING210323-BOULDER-KING-SOOPERS-SHOOTINGHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Police, fire and paramedic units from all along the Front Frange converged on Boulder shortly after the initial 911 calls.

Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said on Thursday that there is no evidence that the alleged gunman who opened fire in the King Soopers last month bought his ammunition magazines illegally.

Prosecutors say the reported shooter used a “high-capacity” magazine in the shooting. In Colorado, any magazine that holds more than 15 rounds is illegal to purchase and own — if acquired after 2013.

But Dougherty said in a press briefing on Thursday that while prosecutors believe Alissa broke the law by possessing ten high-capacity magazines on his person and in his car, he had no evidence that any of them were purchased illegally.

“We don’t have any reason to believe they were sold illegally,” he said. “If there was a store or a dealer that sold the magazines illegally, charges could be filed and would be filed against that store or individual. We don’t have any indication at this point … But we are still looking into that.”

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, now faces 54 counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and possession of illegal magazines for his alleged role in the shooting at the south Boulder grocery store last month. 

He reportedly purchased a firearm legally the week before the attack, in which 10 people -- store employees, customers and a police officer -- were gunned down.

New details emerge about the shooting

The updated charging documents paint a more detailed picture of the breadth of people whose lives were in danger before police officers from several different agencies responded to the scene that day. 

The 19 additional victims listed in the new charges were people who were shot at, or near, their vehicles in the parking lot and inside the store —  as well members of law enforcement called to the scene. 

Dougherty stressed on Thursday that all the deaths occurred before the first three Boulder Police Officers arrived and began engaging in gunfire with the gunman. 

Those officers were Eric Talley, Bryan Capobianco and Pam Gignac. Talley died and Capobianco and Gignac are named as victims of attempted first-degree murder.

“Those first nine victims were community members who were tragically struck down on March 22,” he said. “And then Officer Talley and the other officers stormed in.”

There were at least 115 people in the store when the gunman opened fire and at least 25 in the parking lot, Dougherty said.

The new 12-page charging document filed Wednesday night lists the victims in the order in which they were shot and killed or shot at in the parking lot and in the store, Dougherty said. 

The final victim named in the document, Elan Shakti, was injured in the massacre, but not shot. Shakti was reportedly fleeing the store and fractured her back trying to escape. Alissa faces a first-degree assault charge for that.

Dougherty said that less than 30 seconds after Talley, Capobianco and Gignac entered the store, a second wave of officers entered and they engaged in a lengthy firefight inside the King Soopers. They are also listed among the shooter’s attempted murder victims.

Eleven officers, in addition to Talley, were named in the new court documents. They came from the University of Colorado Police Department, the Boulder Sheriff’s Office and a Boulder County Open Space ranger.

One of the officers, whose name has not been released, fired seven rounds, with one bullet hitting the gunman’s thigh, Dougherty said. This is being treated as a normal officer-involved shooting investigation and that officer has been put on leave, but Dougherty confirmed that officer is also named as a victim in the court documents.

Alleged gunman's motive still unclear

Prosecutors say they still haven’t unearthed a definite motive in the shooting — and have no evidence yet that the gunman ever visited the store beforehand.

“You don’t need a motive to prove intent … but for our community and especially for those families, they want to know why,” Dougherty said. “We’re going to keep working as much as we can to uncover that.”

The alleged gunman remains in custody in an undisclosed location and has a court appearance in May. 

Dougherty said some of the King Soopers employees have been able to go back into the store for visits intended to help them through the healing process. The store remains closed. 

A nearby mental health clinic, Mental Health Partners, is also helping the community members who need it. Last week alone, a spokesman said the clinic saw more than 80 people seeking help.

“I believe this community will move forward together,” Dougherty said. “It’s going to be a long and difficult journey.”

Editor’s Note: CPR News includes the name of an alleged shooter only when it is critical to the story.