Boulder gunman is a wrestling fanatic who moved to the US from Syria

Boulder gunman, 21, is a wrestling fanatic who was bullied in high school and has history of ‘paranoia’ and mental illness

  • Ahmad Alissa, 21, has been identified as the suspected gunman accused of killing ten people at a King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado Monday  
  • Alissa grew up in Arvada, about 30mi from Boulder, after moving to the US from Syria when he was three 
  • He attended Arvada West High School, where he was a wrestler and reportedly bullied by his classmates 
  • His older brother Ali Aliwi Alissa, 34, told The Daily Beast believes he is mentally ill and described him as ‘anti-social’ and ‘paranoid’
  • Facebook posts show Ahmad believed his phone had been ‘hacked’ by ‘racist Islamophobic people’    
  • He also complained that he didn’t have a girlfriend and hated President Trump 
  • The gunman opened fire in the parking lot of King Soopers grocery at 3pm, killing two people before entering the store 
  • Once inside, he shot and killed another eight people before being arrested by Boulder Police Department. His motive remains unclear 
  • Alissa was treated in hospital after being shot during a gunfire exchange with cops but is expected to be transported to jail later Tuesday 

The Colorado gunman suspected of killing 10 people at a grocery store on Monday is a Syrian immigrant with a history of mental illness and ‘paranoia’, who had complained about being ‘hacked’ by ‘racist Islamophobes’ on social media. 

Ahmad Alissa, 21, of Arvada, is charged with ten counts of murder after allegedly gunning down victims with a semi-automatic rifle at a King Soopers store in Boulder, about 28 miles northwest of Denver. 

He was arrested at the scene but was transported to the hospital after suffering a leg wound during a gunfire exchange with cops. He is expected to be released later on Tuesday and transported to jail to await his first court appearance. 

His motive for the massacre remains unclear. 

Social media accounts believed to belong to the suspect and his family show he was born in Syria and moved to the United States when he was three years old. 

He grew up in Arvada, about 30 miles from where the massacre took place, and attended Arvada West High School, where he competed on the wrestling team. 

Family members say Alissa was ‘outgoing’ as a kid, but had become increasingly ‘anti-social’ after being bullied in high school. 

Ahmad Alissa, 21, is the suspected gunman from Monday’s shooting at a Colorado grocery store. He is pictured wearing wrestling medals from the North American Grappling Association, in an undated Facebook photo 

Alissa attended Arvada West High School, in Arvada, about 30 miles from Boulder, where the massacre took place, and had competed on the wrestling team

Facebook posts also showed Alissa believed ‘racist islamophobic people’ were hacking his phone 

His purported Facebook page, which was taken down shortly after he was publicly identified, showed he had studied computer engineering at Metropolitan State University of Denver, but it is unclear if he finished his degree. 

In his bio section, he listed wrestling, computer science, and kickboxing as his interests. 

He frequently shared posts about wrestling or mixed martial arts as well as news stories about former President Donald Trump, for whom he often showed contempt. 

Alissa, who was described as ‘quiet’ by relatives, also lamented not having a girlfriend in a post in 2019.   

His older brother Ali Aliwi Alissa, 34, confirmed to The Daily Beast Tuesday, that Alissa was the suspected shooter, saying he believes his sibling is mentally ill. 

He revealed how Alissa appeared to be convinced people were ‘after him’ in high school and would sometimes believe he was being ‘chased’ or followed. 

‘When he was having lunch with my sister in a restaurant, he said: “People are in the parking lot, they are looking for me”,’ Ali said. 

‘She went out, and there was no one. We didn’t know what was going on in his head.’ 

Facebook posts from 2019 also showed Alissa believed his phone had been hacked by people at his high school. 

On March 18, 2019 he wrote: ‘Just curious what are the laws about phone privacy because I believe my old school (a west) was hacking my phone. Anyone know if I can do anything through the law?’

He then replied to a comment on the post saying: ‘I believe part racism (sic) for sure. But I also believe someone spread rumors about me which are false and maybe that it set it off.’

He frequently shared news stories about former President Donald Trump, for whom he often showed contempt

In a post from September 2018, Alissa lamented how Trump had stepped into office ‘because of racism’, while the economy was on the rise 

Alissa shared another similar post that July, although it is unclear what he was referring to because the content he shared was private. 

‘Yeah if these racist islamophobic people would stop hacking my phone and let me have a normal life I probably could,’ he wrote.

Ali, however, believes his brother’s alleged acts are ‘not at all a political statement’ but a result of his ‘mental illness’ that became apparent after high school. 

 ‘The guy used to get bullied a lot in high school, he was like an outgoing kid but after he went to high school and got bullied a lot, he started becoming anti-social,’ he told the publication. 

A woman who only identified herself as Alissa’s older sister, also told the outlet the family is ‘shocked’ by his alleged actions, describing the suspect as a ‘nice, a quiet brother.’  

Alissa’s arrest affidavit, which was released on Tuesday morning, reveals that after shooting an elderly man once in the grocery store parking lot, Alissa then approached the man while he was still laying on the ground and shot him repeatedly. 

Relatives have described Alissa as a ‘quiet’ and ‘anti-social’ person who was bullied when he was in high school

Alissa, who wrestled in high school, also appeared to be a huge fan of MMA, according to his social media 

Witnesses described Alissa – who is 200lbs and 5ft 6 – as ‘fat’ and said he was wearing a green tactical vest. When police arrested him, he’d removed the vest, his top and his shoes, and was wearing shorts. He was shot once in the right leg in a standoff with police.

Alissa in his booking photo. He is expected to be transferred from hospital to Boulder County Jail to await his first court appearance

Alissa’s sister-in-law told police she had seen him playing with a ‘machine gun’ gun in the days before the shooting but that she didn’t suspect anything. He bought a Ruger AR- 556 pistol exactly a week ago on March 16, 2021 on March 16.

Monday’s shooting in Colorado is the seventh mass shooting in the country and comes just a week after a gunman killed eight people at three massage spas in Georgia. 

On Tuesday, President Biden gave an address to the nation about the shooting. He said he would not ‘speculate’ on the shooter’s motive but used the shooting to call for a ban on assault weapons across the country.

It’s unclear why Alissa unleashed terror on the supermarket or whether the gun he was using – described by witnesses as an AR-15 – was legally purchased. 

Around 2.40pm, he opened fire on King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, killing ten people. He was taken into at 3.28pm and was transported to the hospital to be treated for a leg wound. 

Alissa is shown being led out of the supermarket in handcuffs. He was fully clothed and wearing a green tactical vest inside the store but he stripped down to be arrested 

Tactical police units respond to the scene of King Soopers. The windows of the store were left broken, likely from gunfire 

The victims have been identified as; Denny Strong, 20, Neven Stanisic, 23, Rikki Olds, 25, Suzanne Fountain, 59,  Terri Licher, 51, Eric Talley, 51, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, Jodie Waters, 65. 

Talley was a cop who recently changed jobs to work more closely on the front-line. He was also a father-of-seven. 

Leiker had worked at the grocery store for 30 years. She was dating a colleague who survived the shooting. 

Officials revealed at a press conference on Tuesday morning that some of the victims were at the store to get their COVID-19 vaccine. 

Alissa is currently in the hospital but he is expected to be discharged later today to be booked into Boulder County Jail. 

One video of the incident from YouTube shows two victims (circled) lying on the ground in the parking lot of the store

Witnesses described him shooting two of three shots then stopping calmly before opening fire again. One survivor said he was not ‘spraying’. 

Harrowing 911 calls reveal how officers feared he was wearing a tactical vest.

They told each other to take ‘head shots only’ to bring him down.  

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, officials said they still did not know what the shooter’s motive was.  

‘We will make sure that the suspect is held accountable for what he did to them yesterday,’ Boulder District Attorney Michael Douhgerty said. 

He was eventually shot in the leg in a standoff with the cops. 

Boulder (depicted) is located about 25 miles northwest of Denver

The victims range in age from 20 and 65. 

Among them is a police officer, one of the first on the scene, people who were grocery shopping and people who were at the store to get their COVID vaccines. 

When police arrived at the scene, they found two victims’ bodies in the parking lot. 

Once inside, they saw another.   

Authorities were heard over a loudspeaker telling Alissa to surrender before he emerged from the store in handcuffs.  

Shortly after learning of the incident, Colorado Gov Jared Polis said in a statement: ‘My heart is breaking as we watch this unspeakable event unfold in our Boulder community. 

‘We are making every public safety resource available to assist the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department as they work to secure the store. 

‘I’m incredibly grateful to the brave men and women who have responded to the scene to help the victims of this senseless tragedy.’

The governor continued: ‘This is very much an active situation and we continue to monitor very closely. We ask for your patience as law enforcement works tirelessly to secure the site.

‘Right now, the biggest priority is to let local law enforcement and the City of Boulder do their work to ensure the safety of those involved.’


Eric Talley 

Officer Eric Talley, 51 

Boulder cop and father-of-seven. One of the first on the scene. 

He had recently changed jobs because he wanted to work away from the front line. 

He was given a hero’s procession from the grocery store to the funeral home on Monday night. 

Rikki Olds, 25

Rikki Olds, 25 

Olds was identified by her aunt on Facebook. 

She was an employee at the grocery store. 

Her aunt on Facebook both paid tribute to her and called for the shooter to ‘burn in hell’. 

‘We lost our beloved Rikki Olds to the monster who shot up the king soopers in Boulder CO yesterday may his rotten a** fry and burn in hell,’ her aunt Lori Olds said.  

Teri Leiker, 51

Teri Leiker, 51 

Leiker had worked at the store for 30 years and was dating a colleague, Clint. 

Clint survived the shooting. 

Her friends paid tribute to her on Tuesday.  

‘She loved going to work and enjoyed everything about being there. 

‘Her boyfriend and her had been good friends and began dating in the fall of 2019. 

‘He was working yesterday too. He is alive,’ her friend said on Facebook.  

She said Teri signed off all her calls with ‘your buddy Teri’ and that working in the store was her ‘favorite thing to do’.  She was an enthusiastic Colorado Buffaloes fan. 

Kevin Mahoney with his daughter

Kevin Mahoney, 61

Kevin’s daughter Erika Mahoney revealed that her  he was also among the victims.

She tweeted a touching photo of Mahoney walking her down the aisle for her wedding last year, alongside the caption: ‘I am heartbroken to announce that my Dad, my hero, Kevin Mahoney, was killed in the King Soopers shooting in my hometown of Boulder, CO.

Denny Stong, 20

‘My dad represents all things Love. 

‘I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer. 

‘Thank you to the Boulder PD for being so kind through this painful tragedy.’

Denny Stong, 20 

Friends said Stong was training to be a pilot. 

Tralona Bartkowiak, 49

It’s unclear if he was in the grocery store to shop, or if he was there to get his vaccine.  

Tralona Bartkowiak, 49

Suzanne Fountain, 59 

Neven Stanisic, 23  

Lynn Murray, 62

Jody Waters, 65 

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