Eric Talley Boulder Colorado police officer id as one of ten shooting victims at hands of King Soopers gunman who killed ten at Table Mesa grocery store.
‘These were people going about their day, doing their shopping,’ Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said at a late-night press briefing. He described the day’s events as ‘a tragedy and a nightmare.’
The police officer who died was identified as Eric Talley, 51, an 11-year veteran on the Boulder force. Talley had been one of the first officers responding to the grocery store when he was gunned down.
The names of the other victims were not publicly known as of late Monday night.
Commander Kerry Yamaguchi of the Boulder Police Department said a suspect has been arrested. Police said the gunman was reported to have been carrying a rifle.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – Police in Boulder, Colorado, reported an ‘active shooter’ at a King Soopers grocery store, and aerial footage broadcast live from the scene by local media showed one person being placed in an ambulance and a man in handcuffs https://t.co/9j5m64WvXz pic.twitter.com/wREnM43QsH
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 22, 2021
BREAKING: A visibly shaken Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold confirms 10 fatalities in the shooting today at King Sooper grocery store including one police officer, Eric Talley. pic.twitter.com/am8W0FNTcH
— TheSadTruth💙 (@ReportsDaNews) March 23, 2021
‘No ongoing public threat’
‘There is no ongoing public threat,’ Yamaguchi said. ‘We do have a person of interest in custody. That person was injured during the incident and is being treated for the injuries.”
No motive for the attack was disclosed. Matthew T. Kirsch, the First Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, said the FBI and other federal agents will be assisting in the case. He promised that the ‘full weight of federal law enforcement’ will be brought in the investigation.
Officer Mark Bliley, head of the Boulder Police Department’s union, said Talley was a close friend who was passionate about policing. On the job, Talley had a unique ability to connect with people, Bliley said.
‘He was just a highly respected, well-loved person and officer,’ Bliley said. ‘Just a solid person…I don’t know of anyone who didn’t like Eric.’
Hero cop father of seven
Talley was a father of seven and joined the force at the age of 40, according to a statement from Talley’s father, Homer Talley the Denver Channel reported.
‘He took his job as a police officer very seriously. He had seven children. The youngest is 7 year old. He loved his kids and his family more than anything. He joined the police force when he was 40 years old. He was looking for a job to keep himself off of the front lines and was learning to be a drone operator. He didn’t want to put his family through something like this and he believed in Jesus Christ,’ wrote Homer Talley.
The shooting comes six days after eight people – six of them women of Asian descent – were killed by a gunman at three spas in Atlanta and a nearby county.
‘You need to surrender’
Officers armed with tactical gear and rifles responded Monday afternoon to reports of an active shooter at a King Soopers supermarket in the southern part of Boulder, Table Mesa, about 25 miles northwest of Denver.
At 2.49 p.m. local time, the Boulder Police Department tweeted an alert for people to stay away from the area around the supermarket.
Authorities were heard over a loudspeaker telling the gunman the building was surrounded and ‘you need to surrender’ and come out with hands up and unarmed.
A shirtless man with blood running down his leg was escorted out of the store in handcuffs by two police officers, a live TV feed showed. An ambulance pulled away from the store, apparently carrying the man. It was not clear whether that man was the suspect, but Yamaguchi said nobody else besides him and those who died was injured.
One person was taken from the shooting scene to Foothills Hospital in Boulder, said Rich Sheehan, spokesman for Boulder Community Health, which operates the hospital. Sheehan said he could not provide additional details but did say that ‘we have been notified we will not be receiving any additional patients.’
At 4:18 p.m., police reiterated the warning to avoid the area – ‘this is still a very active scene’ – and asked local residents to stay inside and not to ‘broadcast on social media any tactical information you might see.’ The shelter-in-place request was lifted around 6:40 p.m. Mountain Time.
The livestreamer on the scene at the Boulder, CO King Soopers captures officer Eric Talley rushing in to the supermarket after learning the shooter’s location from the scuttlebutt. pic.twitter.com/Biejx2qaN0
— Alan Bings (@AlanBings) March 23, 2021
‘He just came in and started shooting.’
James Bentz, 57, told the Denver Post he was in the supermarket’s meat section when gunfire rang out. After hearing what he thought was a misfire, he heard several pops, and ‘I was then at the front of a stampede.’
Two roommates who live near the King Soopers told The Denver Post they were at a self-checkout buying a pizza for lunch when a gunman entered the store.
‘He didn’t say shit,’ said one of two men. ‘He just came in and started shooting.’
Other witness said the gunman ‘let off a couple of shots, then was silent, and then he let off a couple more. He wasn’t spraying.’
The two men were able to escape out the back of the store.
A man who said he was shopping at the store told KCNC-TV that he heard a loud bang, then heard another, and by the third, everyone was running.
He said they ran to the back of the store, found the employee area and workers told them how to escape. He said they walked single file, with their arms on the backs of those in front of them.
King Soopers is a Denver-based subsidiary of supermarket giant Kroger. It operates more than 150 stores in Colorado and Wyoming. Kroger is based in Cincinnati.
To date authorities have announced no known motive for Monday’s shooting.