On a now-deactivated Facebook page, Mr. Alissa said he had moved to the United States in 2002, years before a vicious civil war turned millions of Syrians into refugees. The Syrian cities that some in his family name as their hometowns — Aleppo and Raqqa — became bombed-out battlegrounds and a haven for the Islamic State as Mr. Alissa and his siblings were growing up and starting businesses in the United States.
The Alissas were part of a tiny Syrian diaspora in Colorado. Arab-Americans make up less than 1 percent of the state’s population, and most of those who identify as “Arab” on census surveys say they are from Iraq, Somalia or Sudan. Just 324 Syrian refugees were resettled in Colorado in the last 40 years, according to data from the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Public records identify Mr. Alissa’s father as Moustafa Alissa, 62, and social-media profiles and interviews indicate that Ahmad was one of at least seven siblings. Several of his older brothers found a foothold in the restaurant business, opening food trucks that later grew into restaurants.
Records show that at various times, the Alissa brothers also ventured into a car-service business and — at one point — junk removal. A brother-in-law, Usame Almusa, a recent immigrant from Syria, filed corporate papers to form yet another restaurant business.
The family moved at least three times over the past two decades, from the largely middle-class city of Aurora to an apartment in Denver to a rental in Arvada, where a former neighbor remembers family members sometimes stopping by to ask questions about the suburban chores of lawns and weeding.
Mr. Alissa had barely started at Denver South High School when the family moved again, and he had to transfer to first one high school, then another, in the nearby city of Arvada. They moved into their current home, a seven-bedroom, 7,400-square-foot house in a quiet subdivision, in 2017, according to public records, and paid $ 634,000. One of the older brothers, Ali, 34, is listed as its owner.
BOULDER, Colo. — A lawyer for the man charged with 10 counts of murder after a mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., said in court on Thursday that the suspect has an unspecified mental illness.
During the first court appearance for the suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, prosecutors also vowed to file more charges in the next two weeks and said the police were still processing the vast crime scene at the King Soopers grocery store. Mr. Alissa will continue to be held in jail without bond.
Kathryn Herold, a public defender who is among those assigned to represent Mr. Alissa, raised the possibility that he had a mental illness when she asked the judge to postpone the next court date.
“We cannot do anything until we are able to fully assess Mr. Alissa’s mental illness,” Ms. Herold said at the hearing.
Judge Thomas Mulvahill said that the parties would next meet in court in the next 60 to 90 days to discuss the case.
Mr. Alissa, who was shot in the leg by the police during the attack, was brought in and out of the courtroom in a wheelchair and wore a white surgical mask. He spoke only once during the hearing, saying “yes” when the judge asked if he understood his rights.
One of the other lawyers representing Mr. Alissa on Thursday was Daniel King, a longtime public defender who represented the gunman who killed 12 people in 2012 in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a trial that hinged on the gunman’s mental state.
Law enforcement officials have said that Mr. Alissa, 21, was armed with what appeared to be a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun during the shooting on Monday, and was wearing an armored vest. Investigators said he began the rampage in the parking lot of the grocery store and then made his way inside.
Boulder Police said Mr. Alissa bought a Ruger AR-556 pistol, a short-barreled variant of an AR-15 carbine, just six days before the shooting. They have not said whether that was one of the two weapons he was found with and have declined to provide more details on the weapons used in the attack.
Mr. Alissa is charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree, including in the death of a police officer who was the first to respond to the scene. If convicted, he faces a penalty of life imprisonment without parole. Prosecutors have charged Mr. Alissa with attempted murder in the first degree, saying he tried to kill another police officer during the attack.
Jack Healy reported from Boulder and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs from New York. Will Wright contributed reporting from New York.
In the aftermath of the deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, cities across the country began passing their own gun control laws when state and federal governments failed to act.
The city of Boulder, Colo., was one of them, unanimously adopting a wide-ranging ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump-stock devices. “I think it’s time to say ‘enough,’” Jill Adler Grano, the City Council member who proposed the ban, said after the council’s initial vote.
Gun rights supporters filed an immediate challenge, arguing that only the state could regulate firearms in Colorado, and earlier this month, a state judge agreed. Boulder was prohibited from enforcing its nearly three-year-old assault weapons ban.
Less than two weeks later a man armed with an assault-style weapon walked into a Boulder supermarket and opened fire, killing 10 people.
The gunman could have purchased his weapon in another town, but there has been a particularly keen sense of dismay and frustration in a city that tried, and failed, to prevent one of the most horrific kinds of gun violence.
“My heart is broken,” said Ms. Adler Grano, who is no longer on the City Council. “We tried so hard to prevent this from happening, yet here we are.”
In the wake of the Parkland massacre, Boulder was primed to take action. The city is only 30 miles away from Columbine High School, where 12 students and a teacher were fatally gunned down in 1999. It is 35 miles from Aurora, where 12 people were killed by a gunman who walked into a movie theater and opened fire. In all, since 1993, 47 people have died in mass shootings in public spaces in Colorado.
But Boulder’s aborted effort to control the kind of weapons used in such attacks has illustrated the daunting challenge of cities that try to go it on their own: Aggressive legal challenges have successfully undermined some local ordinances. Lawmakers who endorse gun control legislation have been ousted. The industry keeps innovating around gun regulations. And perhaps most daunting of all is the state law that provided the basis for the challenge to Boulder’s ordinance, a pre-emption — similar to those in effect in more than 40 states — that gives the state sole authority to regulate firearms.
“It’s incredibly challenging,” said Stephen Fenberg, a Democrat who is Colorado’s Senate majority leader. “We are a traditional libertarian Western state. We’re also a state that has seen a lot of gun violence. It’s a complicated topic for us.”
Across the country, gun regulation has become a patchwork of laws, with a variety of federal, state and local laws regulating sales, storage and allowable specifications for firearms.
Gun rights advocates have been strong supporters of state pre-emption laws like Colorado’s, arguing that local ordinances like Boulder’s are a nightmare for gun owners who must navigate varying restrictions from city to city.
In Colorado, with a strong hunting tradition among liberals and conservatives alike, a variety of gun control measures have been adopted but there is also powerful bipartisan support for Second Amendment rights. Still, most of the regulations passed have cleared the legislature over the overwhelming opposition of Republican lawmakers.
After the supermarket attack this week, the Colorado State Shooting Association, which is affiliated with the National Rifle Association, said in a statement that it would oppose all gun control measures as a “mistaken way to attempt to prevent these shootings.”
Taylor Rhodes, the executive director of the gun rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said lawmakers in Colorado should embrace regulations that allow the carrying of weapons without a permit in order to prevent more mass shootings. But he acknowledged that gun control efforts have been increasingly successful in the state.
“They’ve been gaining traction over the years, but we’re still here fighting, and we won’t stop fighting,” Mr. Rhodes said.
The state’s regulation history has been a series of steps, many of them halting.
After the Columbine massacre, lawmakers proposed to close a loophole that had allowed people to buy weapons at gun shows without a background check. But it took a voter initiative to make it into law.
After the Aurora attack, whose ferocity was accelerated by the use of a 100-round drum magazine, Colorado lawmakers restricted the size of high-capacity magazines, one of a series of new control measures.
Not long after, two Democratic lawmakers who had provided crucial support for the package were pushed out of office in a recall vote.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who lived in the nearby suburb of Arvada, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder in the latest attack at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder. Despite Mr. Alissa’s own history of aggression, he had managed to purchase a semiautomatic pistol the week before the shooting, and also had a second gun in his possession at the time of the attack, according to a police affidavit.
AR-style weapons, first developed for battlefield use, have for years been a growing target of gun control advocates as such firearms repeatedly are deployed during mass shootings.
The gun purchased by Mr. Alissa was a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic weapon, essentially a shortened version of an AR-15-style rifle marketed as a pistol. The authorities have not said where Mr. Alissa bought the weapon.
Under federal law, shortened rifles have strict regulations, based on fears that such high-powered weapons can be concealed before the commission of crimes. Under Colorado state law, such rifles are banned.
What to Know About Gun Laws and Shootings in the U.S.
But the gun purchased by Mr. Alissa, while carrying some of the hallmarks of a longer AR-15, had instead been marketed as a pistol — a gun that can be shot with one hand but which comes with a stabilizer that looks similar to the buttstock of a rifle. As such, it would have been allowed under state law, but it appears to conflict with Boulder’s assault weapons ban, which prohibits pistols with magazines outside the grip and also devices that allow it to be stabilized with both hands.
Guns purchased from licensed dealers must go through a federal background check, and states have embraced broader background-check rules to prevent sales to troubled people outside of gun stores. States, including Colorado in 2019, have also adopted red-flag laws that allow a judge to temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms if they are found to be a danger to themselves or others.
Mr. Alissa had been convicted of a misdemeanor in the assault of another student in his high school a few years ago. And Mr. Alissa’s brother told CNN that his brother had shown signs of being paranoid and antisocial. But while federal and state laws can prevent people who are a danger to the community from acquiring or possessing guns, it does not appear that Mr. Alissa’s past actions ever triggered such restrictions against him.
In some ways, with neighboring communities carrying widely different gun laws, local ordinances such as the one Boulder passed are statements of political conviction as much as they are effective prohibitions on guns.
When Ms. Adler Grano proposed her assault weapons ban, she said she knew the idea had support from many locals, and felt, after watching a continued political stalemate at the federal level, that local officials would have to step up.
“Our country has gone through mass shooting after mass shooting for decades now,” she said. “I have a son in high school, and it just felt like, ‘We have got to do something. If the federal government is not going to take action, we’re just going to keep talking around in circles.”
But the public’s support was hardly unanimous. Large numbers of opponents, some of them armed, spoke up against the measure at council meetings.
The new law increased the legal age for buying a firearm from 18 to 21 in Boulder, banned the sale of assault-style weapons that met certain criteria, required the registration or surrender of assault weapons that had previously been purchased, and reduced the magazine capacity from the state’s limit of 15 to 10.
But the new regulations could only go so far. A person wishing to buy an assault rifle would only need to leave city limits to legally purchase one, highlighting the limitations of a patchwork, city-by-city approach to gun policy.
Rachel Friend, a member of the City Council who formerly led the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, an organization that advocates for gun regulation, said city officials had been convinced that gun regulation in the country would have to come from the bottom up — but the judge’s decision overturning Boulder’s ban now threatens their city’s effort.
“I can’t tell you how angering that is,” Ms. Friend said. “I’m supporting and advocating for us to appeal.”
In April 1999, a pair of student gunmen killed 13 people and wounded 21 others at Mr. DeAngelis’s school in Littleton, outside Denver. The event plunged the nation into sorrow and set the stage for more mass shootings to come over the next two decades.
“It’s overwhelming,” Mr. DeAngelis told The New York Times this week. “Colorado’s been through so much.”
He is so regularly contacted after mass shootings that he has become the state’s grief-counselor-in-chief. He told CBS Denver that by sharing his story he has helped others cope.
“It’s not that I’m an expert, but I think that when I talk to people and I say, ‘I know what you’re feeling,’ they understand what I’m saying,” Mr. DeAngelis said. “Wherever you are right now, we were there 21 years ago or 22 years ago.”
After Monday’s shooting, Mr. DeAngelis said he didn’t want a feeling of hopelessness to prevail.
“We can’t give up, and I never want us to get to a point in our lives where people are just saying, ‘OK, how many this time?’ where we become desensitized,” he told CBS. “We’ve got to say, ‘We can’t do this.’”
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MATZE v. PARLER:Parler co-founder John Matze has sued the social media platform over his firing earlier this year.
Matze filed suit on Monday in a Nevada state court, according to a copy of the complaint published by The Las Vegas Sun.
The former Parler CEO accuses co-owner and GOP megadonor Rebekah Mercer of conspiring to dismiss him for “endeavoring to preserve Parler’s commitment to free expression while combatting any misuse by violent extremists and domestic terrorists in the wake of the January 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol.”
Internal dispute: The suit alleges that Mercer ignored Matze’s proposals for moderation policies that would have booted extremist content while preserving free speech. Instead, she and now-interim CEO Mark Meckler allegedly sought to turn Parler into a media outlet that would be the “tip of the spear” for conservatism.
After the Jan. 6 riots, Parler was booted from several platforms including Apple and Google’s app stores, as well as Amazon’s web hosting service, over its failing to moderate extremist content on the platform.
YOUTUBE MAKES BOULDER CALL:YouTube says it’s leaving up a live-streamed video of Monday’s shooting in Boulder, Colo., which left ten people dead, including a police officer.
The company said it is adding a warning to the footage, which was captured by a self-described citizen journalist who live-streamed the shooting for three hours.
YouTube’s stance: “Following yesterday’s tragic shooting, bystander videos of the incident were detected by our teams,” YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez told The Hill in a statement. “Violent content intended to shock or disgust viewers and hate speech are not allowed on YouTube, and as a result we have removed a number of videos for violating our policies.”
“We do allow certain violent or graphic content with sufficient news or documentary context, and so we’ve applied an age restriction to this particular content. We will continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation,” Hernandez said.
Dean Schiller began livestreaming at around 2:45 p.m. local time on Monday after he heard the first shots at the King Soopers grocery store, Vice News reported. The video was uploaded to the channel ZFG Videography.
FACEBOOK CHECK: A nonprofit found that 267 Facebook pages and groups spread material glorifying violence ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Avaaz, a group focused on misinformation, said in a report on March 18 that it found “267 pages and groups – in addition to ‘Stop the Steal’ groups – with a combined following of 32 million, spreading violence-glorifying content in the heat of the 2020 election.”
They believe that 118 of those groups had “clear violations” of Facebook’s policies.
Facebook responded to the report saying that of the 118 pages that Avaaz believes clearly violated the social media giant’s policies, only 18 groups actually had clear policy violations.
CRYPTO(-IC) WARNING:Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Monday warned of the risks associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, in part because of their high volatility.
“They’re highly volatile, see Bitcoin, and therefore not really useful as a store of value and they’re not backed by anything,” Powell said during a digital panel discussion hosted by the Bank of International Settlements.
Casting doubt: He added that crypto assets are more used for “speculation,” rather than a “means of payment.”
“They’re more of an asset for speculation, so they’re also not particularly in use as a means of payment. It’s more a speculative asset that’s essentially a substitute for gold, rather than for the dollar,” he said.
Powell also addressed the potential for the Federal Reserve to institute its own central bank digital coin. He said the Fed is “exploring” the issue, but that it is “not in a mode of trying to make a decision at this point.”
OATH KEEPERS AT RISK:The Department of Justice is eyeing charging members of the Oath Keepers militia group with sedition for their alleged role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, The New York Times reported on Monday.
Law enforcement officials briefed on the matter told the Times that authorities have been mulling whether to file sedition charges for weeks, accusing the militia group’s members of conspiring to overthrow the government.
What’s next: Justice Department senior officials have been given evidence on the three charged individuals and have examined whether a sedition charge could be pursued. But prosecutors have not yet provided a formal prosecution memo or a draft of an indictment, one official told the newspaper.
Ten people were killed on Monday when a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., the authorities said. They included a Boulder police officer, a young grocery store worker and a retiree filling orders for Instacart.
Among the victims was Officer Eric Talley, 51, with the Boulder Police Department, who had responded to a “barrage” of 911 calls about the shooting. Authorities identified the nine other people who were killed as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.
Here is what we know so far about their lives.
Eric Talley: A veteran police officer
An 11-year veteran of the Boulder Police Department, Eric Talley was described as “heroic” by Chief Maris Herold at the scene of the shooting on Monday night.
“He was the first on the scene, and he was fatally shot,” Chief Herold said in a news conference.
“The world lost a great soul,” said Officer Talley’s father, Homer Talley. “He was a devoted father — seven kids. The youngest was 7 and the oldest was 20, and his family was the joy of his life.”
Officer Talley joined the police force as a second career when he was 40, quitting a job in cloud communications.
“He wanted to serve people, Mr. Talley said. “All kids want to be a policeman, and in many ways, he was a big kid.”
On Twitter, a woman who described herself as the officer’s sister, Kirstin, said she was heartbroken. “I cannot explain how beautiful he was and what a devastating loss this is to so many. Fly high my sweet brother. You always wanted to be a pilot (damn color blindness). Soar.”
In 2013, the local newspaper, The Boulder Daily Camera, featured Officer Talley and two other members of the force who had waded into a local drainage ditch to rescue a trapped mother duck and 11 ducklings. “He was drenched after this,” Sgt. Jack Walker told the paper. “They would go into these little pipes and he would have to try and fish them out.”
Talley is the sixth on-duty death in the department’s history and the first officer killed in the line of duty since 1994, the paper reported.
Rikki Olds: She ‘brought life to the family’
Rikki Olds, a 25-year-old who loved the outdoors, was a front-end manager at King Soopers, where she had worked for about seven or eight years, her uncle, Robert Olds, said.
She was an energetic, bubbly and “happy-go-lucky” young woman who “brought life to the family,” her uncle said. And she had persevered, despite hardship. She was the oldest of three siblings, and was raised by her grandparents in Lafayette, Colo., he said.
Mr. Olds described his niece as a strong and independent woman who enjoyed hiking and camping. She liked spending time with friends and family and often accompanied him and her cousins to their baseball games.
The whole family is in shock, particularly Ms. Olds’s grandmother, Mr. Olds said. “My mom was her mom,” he said. “My mom raised her.”
Lynn Murray: Former magazine photo director
Lynn Murray, 62, a former photo director and mother of two, was at the grocery store on Monday filling an Instacart order, which she had enjoyed doing to help people since her retirement.
“She was an amazing woman, probably the kindest person I’ve ever known,” her husband, John Mackenzie, said.
Ms. Murray was a former photo director for several magazines in New York, her husband said. The couple moved from New York in 2002, first to Stuart, Fla., then to Colorado, to raise their children.
“I just want her to be remembered as just as this amazing, amazing comet spending 62 years flying across the sky,” Mr. Mackenzie said. She is also survived by two children: Olivia, 24, and Pierce, 22.
Ms. Murray was artistic, always drawing, doodling and painting, and designed Halloween costumes for her children, Olivia Mackenzie said.
“The most undeserving person to have to be shot down I can think of has to be my mother,” she said, “and I just wish it could have been me.”
Tralona Bartkowiak: A shop manager, newly engaged
Tralona Lynn “Lonna” Bartkowiak, 49, managed a shop in Boulder that sold yoga and festival clothing, said her brother, Michael Bartkowiak of Roseburg, Ore.
He described his older sister, the eldest of four close-knit, California-born siblings, as “an amazing person, just a beam of light.” She had moved to Boulder to run the store, Umba, which had been launched by their sister.
“She rented a house outside Boulder,” he said, “and lived there with her little Chihuahua, Opal. She had just gotten engaged. She was, you know, organic — stir fries, salads — she was always trying to be healthier.”
Mr. Bartkowiak had last seen his sister about a month ago, he said, when the family gathered in southern Oregon. “We just hung out and talked and chilled. That was the last time I saw her.”
His voice caught. “She was just great,” he said. “No, she is great. Still is.”
Teri Leiker: A longtime grocery employee
Teri Leiker, 51, had worked for about 30 years at King Soopers, according to her friend, Alexis Knutson, 22.
Ms. Knutson met Ms. Leiker through a program called Best Buddies that connects students at University of Colorado Boulder and members of the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She remembered attending university sporting events together, and how Ms. Leiker loved to cheer on the teams.
Despite their age difference, Ms. Knutson said, they bonded. “I always had a rule she couldn’t call before 9 a.m. because I like my sleep,” she said. “She would always call me at 6 a.m.”
Ms. Knutson struggled to comprehend what had happened.
“The fact that this happened is just devastating, especially somewhere where she goes to work every day,” she said.
Eve Rose, 55, has shopped at King Soopers for years and said Ms. Leiker, a grocery bagger, was a warm and familiar presence.
“As soon as I saw her I would stop being irritable and impatient,” Ms. Rose said, trying to hold back tears. “Something about her air, her smile, just soothed me.”
Shoppers recalled Ms. Leiker’s routine: If a customer tried to help her bag, she was known to cheerfully swat away their hand and say, “I’ve got this.”
Kevin Mahoney: His daughter’s hero
Kevin Mahoney, 61, was formerly the chief operating officer for Stonebridge Companies, a hotel development and hospitality management company, before he left in 2014, according to Andy Boian, a spokesman for the group.
He was also about to become a grandfather, according to his daughter, Erika Mahoney, the news director for KAZU Public Radio in the Monterey, Calif., area.
“I am heartbroken to announce that my Dad, my hero, Kevin Mahoney, was killed in the King Soopers shooting,” she said on Twitter. “My dad represents all things Love. I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer.”
“I am now pregnant. I know he wants me to be strong for his granddaughter,” she said. “I love you forever Dad. You are always with me.”
Denny Stong: A grocery worker, avid hunter
Denny Stong, 20, had worked at King Soopers for several years. A high school friend described him as one of the kindest people she had ever met.
He was an avid dirt biker and dreamed of becoming a pilot, according to those who knew him. He worked extra shifts at King Soopers to save money for plane fuel while he worked to get his pilot’s license, said Laura Spicer, whose son was Mr. Stong’s best friend.
“Denny was a confident and really generous person who always met you with a smile and had really high aspirations for his life,” Ms. Spicer, 55, said.
Molly Proch, a friend from Fairview High School in Boulder, said Mr. Stong enjoyed hunting and was a strong supporter of the Second Amendment but also supported strengthening certain gun regulations. “He was so passionate about expressing how he thought the government should handle weapons,” to avoid mass shootings, she said. “And then this is how he’s not here anymore.”
Neighbors knew Suzanne L. Fountain, 59, as a prolific gardener who passed a steady stream of tomatoes, lettuce and basil over the tall wooden fence surrounding her yard. “She would always share her abundance with us.” said Laura Rose Boyle Gaydos, who until recently had lived next door for more than two years.
She was particularly fond of peach tree that she had planted, and could often be found sitting outside in the early evening, watching the sunset over the mountains. Those who knew her described her as joyous, fun, bright and warm.
Ms. Fountain had lived in her house for more than 20 years, raising her son Nathaniel there.
She was an actress in the early 1990s. More recently, she found a creative outlet in eTown, a nationally syndicated public radio show produced in Boulder that combines music and conversation.
She had worked as financial adviser at a Boulder health center, and then in 2018 embarked on a new career, starting a business to advise people newly turned 65 about how to apply for Medicare.
Neven Stanisic: The son of refugees
Neven Stanisic, 23, had been fixing coffee machines at the Starbucks inside the supermarket, and was in the parking lot, just leaving, when he was gunned down, said the family’s priest, the Rev. Radovan Petrovic.
The son of Serbian refugees who had fled Central Bosnia during the violence of the 1990s, Mr. Stanisic was born in the United States. His Facebook page is filled with anime drawings, and his profile picture shows him in a blue cap and gown, posing with friends from his Lakewood, Co., high school.
He was the shining hope, Father Petrovic said, “of a family who, like many refugees, had come with basically nothing but their lives, to start a new life here.”
After high school, Mr. Stanisic had gone straight to work repairing coffee machines throughout the Denver area with his father, said Father Petrovic.
“And now, the biggest question for the family, besides all the sorrow they are enduring, is how this could have happened here,” he said. “They fled war to save their lives, and to be struck by such a terrible tragedy — the loss is beyond comprehension.”
Jack Begg, Kitty Bennett and Susan C. Beachy contributed research.