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Boulder shooter: Suspected gunman, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was bullied, anti-social and paranoid, brother says

   
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by Graig Graziosi

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Boulder shooter's brother talks Shooter deeply disturbed and paranoid
 
The brother of a Colorado man who shot and killed 10 people at a Boulder grocery store on Monday described his sibling as deeply disturbed.

Police identified the grocery store gunman as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who was shot through the leg and taken into custody after officers arrived at the scene of the shooting.

Mr Alissa's brother spoke with The Daily Beast, calling him "very anti-social" and paranoid.

"When he was having lunch with my sister in a restaurant, he said, "People are in the parking lot, they are looking for me,'" the brother, Ali Aliwi Alissa, 34, said. "She went out, and there was no one. We didn't know what was going on in his head."

He said his brother had previously been outgoing, but turned anti-social after he was subjected to bullying in high school. He does not believe his brother's attack was a political statement of any kind.

"[It was] not at all a political statement, it's mental illness," he said. "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."

According to CNN, the family emigrated to the US from Syria in 2002.

Mr Alissa's brother said he was neither overtly political or religious, and that he was shocked by the killings....

BACKGROUND

On March 22, 2021, a mass shooting occurred at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, United States. Ten people were killed, including a local police officer. Several other officers were injured. The alleged shooter, Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, was wounded in the leg by police and transported to Boulder Community Health Foothills Hospital before being moved to the Boulder County Jail. The shooting began shortly after 2:30 p.m. MDT when a gunman entered the parking lot of the supermarket and began to fire. He was wearing what was described as a 'tactical' or 'armored' vest and armed with a rifle. A body was found in a vehicle parked next to Al-Issa's vehicle, and an elderly man was shot multiple times in the parking lot. A family in line awaiting their COVID-19 vaccine shots at the store's pharmacy witnessed the gunman walk in the store and shoot a woman at the front of the line; they proceeded to hide in a coat closet until their rescue. Some customers and employees reached safety through a back exit located in the supermarket. The incident was partially livestreamed by a witness.

At 2:33 p.m., the Boulder Police Department began receiving calls of a person with a 'patrol rifle' in the area and shots being fired. At 2:34 p.m., a Boulder Police dispatcher provided an initial description of the gunman as a middle-aged white male with dark hair and a beard. By 2:39 p.m., responding officers reported being fired upon repeatedly by the gunman. One of the first officers on the scene was Officer Eric Talley, who entered the building at 2:50 p.m. and was shot and killed by the gunman. Other officers engaged him in a gunfight from 3:00 p.m. to 3:21 p.m. At one point, Al-Issa was shot in the leg. At 3:28 p.m., he was taken into custody.

Witnesses at the scene reported hearing anywhere from ten to thirty shots fired in rapid succession.

A shelter-in-place order was issued in the area at 4:18 p.m. and lifted at 6:40 p.m.

Up to fifteen agencies responded to the incident, including the Jefferson County SWAT, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and local police departments. A fire department ladder truck was used to get a SWAT team onto the roof. At least three medical helicopters were summoned to a staging area at nearby Fairview High School.

Victims Law enforcement officials said that ten people were killed in the shooting, including police officer Eric Talley, age 51, who worked for the Boulder Police Department for eleven years; and three employees. The victims were identified a day after the shooting. The youngest was aged 20, while the oldest was aged 65. In addition, several police officers were injured.

Suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, age 21, from Arvada, Colorado, is the alleged shooter and was charged with ten counts of first-degree murder. Al-Issa was found with a leg wound, and he was transported to Boulder Community Health Foothills Hospital. A day later, Al-Issa was transferred to the Boulder County Jail where he is being held without bond. Al-Issa's identity was revealed to the public on March 23.

Al-Issa was born in Syria in 1999. His family immigrated to the United States in 2002, and he has lived in Arvada since 2014. Al-Issa's older brother said that Al-Issa has a history of paranoid, disturbed, and antisocial behavior, and was concerned of his mental health. Al-Issa was arrested in 2017 for punching a classmate at Arvada West High School, after the classmate insulted him weeks earlier. Al-Issa pleaded guilty to an assault charge in relation to the incident and received two months of probation in addition to 48 hours of community service.

According to a police affidavit, Al-Issa bought a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic pistol in the week prior to the shooting. Al-Issa's identity was already known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation due to a link to another individual under investigation by law enforcement officials.

Al-Issa is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Legal proceedings Al-Issa was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, and is expected to have his first court appearance at 8:15 a.m. on March 25.

Aftermath Criticism and praise were leveled at the witness who livestreamed the event to a YouTube channel. He had identified himself repeatedly as a journalist to law enforcement before being removed from the scene. At peak viewership during the event the livestream had about 30,000 people viewing it, and many have leveled criticism for YouTube allowing the video to remain on its site. The company responded with a statement claiming the video had enough news or documentary context to remain, regardless of the violence shown.

At around 8 p.m. on the day of the shooting, a procession honored officer Eric Talley as his body was being taken to a funeral home. A separate memorial was created along a chain link fence bordering the grocery store, as mourners placed candles, flowers and other items along its base or through the chain link in memory of the victims.

Reactions The shooting sparked a renewal in the gun control debate. Less than two weeks prior to the shooting, a court ruled Boulder's gun restrictions were invalid under state law, though these regulations likely had no impact on Al-Issa, who lived in a different county. Jill Grano, the former councilwoman behind the Boulder ban, contended at the time that the Second Amendment does not protect all classes of weapons.

Following the shooting, President Joe Biden called for an immediate ban on assault weapons, other politicians echoed his sentiments, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein , Representative Joe Neguse , and former President Barack Obama. Biden also urged that loopholes be closed in the background check system and praised officer Talley, who was killed in the shooting, for his heroism.

Sports teams across the state released statements of condolences for the victims and family members of the victims of the shooting. Individuals who have responded to or were victims of other mass shootings, issued statements professing sympathy for the victims after many were reached out to by reporters shortly after the shooting.

Governor Jared Polis ordered the state's flags to be at half-staff for 10 days; one day for each victim. President Biden also ordered flags to be at half-staff, almost immediately after the raising of flags after being half-staff due to the Atlanta spa shootings that occurred nearly a week prior.

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