CO Shooting Suspect Passed Background Check, Bought Gun 6 Days Before Attack


The suspect in the Colorado supermarket shooting bought a gun nearly a week before the attack at a local gun store after passing a background check, the store’s owner said Friday.

John Mark Eagleton, owner of Eagles Nest Armory in the Denver suburb of Arvada, said in a statement that his store was cooperating with authorities as they investigate the Monday shooting that killed 10 people, including a police officer.

Eagleton said the suspect in the shooting, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, passed a background check conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation before purchasing the firearm.

Authorities previously said Alissa, 21, purchased the gun used in the mass shooting on March 16, six days before the attack. Alissa is from Arvada.

“We are absolutely shocked by what happened and our hearts are broken for the victims and families that are left behind. Ensuring every sale that occurs at our shop is lawful, has always been and will always remain the highest priority for our business,” Eagleton said in the statement.

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The statement added: “Regarding the firearm in question, a background check of the purchaser was conducted as required by Colorado law and approval for the sale was provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. We have and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement as their investigation continues.”

Alissa was convicted in 2018 of misdemeanor assault after he knocked a fellow high school student to the floor, climbed on top of him and punched him in the head several times, according to police documents. He was sentenced to probation and community service.

Colorado has a universal background check law covering almost all gun sales, but misdemeanor convictions generally do not prevent people from purchasing weapons.

If Alissa had been convicted of a felony, his gun purchase would’ve been prohibited under federal law.

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According to the arrest affidavit, Alissa bought a Ruger AR-556 pistol.

According to two law enforcement officials, Alissa was born in Syria in 1999, emigrated to the U.S. as a toddler and later became a U.S. citizen. He would need to be a citizen to buy a gun. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Alissa made his first court appearance on Thursday. His public defender asked for a mental health evaluation but provided no details about Alissa’s mental health.

The suspect’s next hearing will not be scheduled for two to three months to allow his defense team to evaluate his mental state and evidence collected by investigators.

He is charged with 10 counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder for allegedly shooting at a police officer.

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Among those slain was Boulder police officer Eric Talley, 51, who was the first officer to arrive on the scene, according to Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold.

Alissa entered court in a wheelchair, presumably because of a gunshot wound to the leg that he suffered in an exchange of gunfire with police at the King Soopers supermarket.

Before his court hearing, Alissa was last seen handcuffed and being led out of the supermarket by police on Monday. He had removed all clothing except his shorts before being taken into custody, and his leg was bloody.

A rifle, a green tactical vest and a handgun were recovered inside the grocery store, according to the arrest affidavit.

Alissa was treated at a hospital before being transferred to the Boulder County Jail.

Alissa has since been moved to a jail outside Boulder County due to safety concerns stemming from threats made against him, Boulder County sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield said in a statement on Friday.

Alissa did not enter a plea, which will come later in the judicial process, and is jailed without bail.

Talley’s funeral has been scheduled for Tuesday in the Boulder County city of Lafayette. Talley, who joined the police department in 2010, had seven children.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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