Colorado shooting suspect was paranoid, family says; asked for his mother after killings; bought gun 6 days before rampage

The 21-year-old suspect arrested in a shooting rampage inside a Colorado grocery store was described by family as anti-social and paranoid and had purchased an AR-15 style rifle just six days before police say he shot and killed 10 people.

Police say the suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, began his attack Monday around 2:30 p.m. local time at King Soopers in Boulder, Colo., which is about 25 miles northwest of Denver and home to the University of Colorado. He took 10 lives, among them Officer Eric Talley, 51, a father of seven who was the first to respond to the grocery store.  

The victims have been identified as Denny Strong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Talona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Eric Talley, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Jody Waters, 65.

The assault came just days after eight people were killed by a gunman at three spas in and around Atlanta. It is the seventh mass killing this year in the U.S., according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA TODAY and Northeastern University.

A motive has not been released in the shooting but family members described Alissa as someone possibly suffering from mental illness. A police affidavit chronicles the suspect, wearing body armor and wielding two firearms, killing victims at point-blank range. Alissa was shot in the leg and stripped down to his shorts before he was taken to the hospital. 

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Suspect purchased rifle 6 days before shooting

When Alissa surrendered to police, he was found with a green tactical vest and two firearms — an AR-15 style rifle and a semi-automatic handgun, authorities wrote in an arrest affidavit. 

Boulder Police say in the document Alissa purchased the rifle, a Ruger AR-556, on March 16 — six days before the shooting. 

The shooting came 10 days after a judge blocked a ban on assault rifles passed by the city of Boulder in 2018. That ordinance and another banning large-capacity magazines came after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

A lawsuit challenging the bans was filed quickly, backed by the National Rifle Association. The judge struck down the ordinance under a Colorado law that blocks cities from making their own rules about guns.

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