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Boulder shooting: Police still determining motive, DA plans to file more attempted murder charges

Boulder police
Posted at 11:44 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 12:53:57-04

At a press conference on Friday, the Boulder Police Chief and the district attorney for Boulder County laid out the next steps in the laborious process that lies ahead in bringing justice to the victims of Monday’s mass shooting at a local grocery store.

Among that work includes determining a motive, something Police Chief Maris Herold and District Attorney Michael Dougherty said they were still working through.

“The family of victims are desperate to know the motive (of the shooting),” Dougherty said Tuesday. “Whether or not we'll be able to determine that remains to be seen."

When asked directly if international terrorism could have led to the shooting, Herold noted that the FBI and state agencies were doing a “deep dive” on the suspect’s background but had no specific updates to share.

She added that questions of the timing and location of the shooting will be “haunting for all of us” until authorities can determine a motive.

Ten people were killed during the shooting at the King Sooper’s grocery store, including a Boulder Police Officer. According to authorities, his actions and the actions of other police officers helped save lives that day.

Dougherty added that police responding to the scene faced a “significant amount of gunfire” and put their lives at risk to save others.

Herold confirmed on Friday that the one officer who exchanged gunfire with the suspect, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, had been placed on administrative leave, per department policy. She added that an independent, multi-agency panel will review the facts of the case before determining whether his use of force was justified.

Authorities did not provide much insight into the current state of their investigation, citing the defendant’s right to a fair trial. But they noted that much work is still ahead of them.

Herold described the “vastness” of the crime scene and the meticulous work of identifying every shot fired. She noted that it’s unlike any other crime scene she’s encountered in her career.

The press conference came one day after Alissa, made his first appearance in court.

During that court appearance, the suspect was formally charged with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Appearing in a wheelchair due to a bullet wound suffered during the incident, the suspect did not speak outside of confirming to the judge that he understood his rights.

At that hearing, attorneys for the suspect requested her client’s mental health be evaluated.

"We cannot begin to assess the nature and depths of Mr. Alissa's mental illness until we have the discovery from the government," Colorado Public Defender Kathryn Herold said Thursday.

District Attorney Michael Dougherty did not object to that motion on Thursday. During Friday's press conference, he noted that he plans to file additional charges of attempted murder against the suspect in the weeks ahead.

The judge then said the status conference would be set in the next 60 to 90 days.

Several vigils honoring the victims of Monday’s shootings have been held in Boulder throughout the week.

Read more about the victims of Monday’s shootings here.