BOULDER, Colo. — Brett Schwartz was one of the lucky ones. The Boulderite was out shopping at the King Soopers at 3600 Table Mesa Dr. Monday when a gunman began shooting.
“All of a sudden, I hear loud noises behind me,” Schwartz said. “I just heard screaming and shouting, and then I realized these are actual gunshots. I just left my cart there and bolted.”
Schwartz got out alive by running through an emergency exit at the front of the store. He also captured some footage on his cell phone in the parking lot before running home.
Denver7 Investigates has attempted to piece together where people were in the store at the time of the shooting and a timeline of events through information via the Boulder Police Department (BPD) and an arrest affidavit for the alleged 21-year-old shooter.
King Soopers employee Darcy Lopez works at the cheese counter and said the shooting started just before 2:30 p.m. She says the gunman entered the store through a door near the Starbucks.
“It was a lot of gunfire — it seemed to go on forever,” she said. “I thought there were like five shooters.”
She and her co-worker dropped to the floor after hearing the shots.
“I just said to myself, ‘If this is the world that I live in, just take me. Just take me, I don’t want to live in this world,’” Lopez said.
The arrest affidavit for the shooter says BPD was first dispatched to the scene at 2:40 p.m. Less than 10 minutes after, the department sent a Tweet announcing there was an active shooter and advising people to avoid the area.
ALERT: Active Shooter at the King Soopers on Table Mesa. AVOID THE AREA. PIO is en-route.— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 22, 2021
A man who described himself as a citizen journalist also posted to YouTube a stream of the shooting, which appears to show two bodies outside the store and one inside. Gunfire is also heard inside the store.
Logan Smith worked at the Starbucks inside the King Soopers and said he heard roughly 30 rounds shot through the store.
“There was absolutely nowhere in the store to hide,” he said.
The suspect was taken into custody at 3:28 p.m., according to the affidavit. Just before 7 p.m., the department sent a Tweet saying that a person of interest was in custody and there was no ongoing public threat.
Police: No ongoing public threat. Person of interest in custody. He was injured and is being treated for his injury.— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 23, 2021
Later than evening, news broke that one of the victims was Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51. The other nine victims were identified the following morning.
The gunman made his first court appearance on Thursday. He spoke one word, answering “yes” to a question from the judge.
While the investigation continues, there are several questions that remain to be answered. Most significant is a motive, as it’s unclear what led the accused gunman to purchase an assault weapon six days before the shooting and select that store, changing the lives of the families of those who were killed and those who made it out alive.
“I wake up to gunfire. I wake up to ‘pow, pow, pow,'” Lopez said. “As long as I keep hearing gunshots at night, I got to keep going to counseling. I got to keep talking it out.”
Timeline of events
Compiled by Denver7 through Boulder Police’s Twitter page, the arrest affidavit and witness accounts.
Tuesday, March 16
Shooting suspect purchases an AR-556 pistol.
Monday, March 22
Roughly 2:30 p.m.- First reports of shots fired in the store.
2:40 p.m.- Boulder Police first dispatched to King Soopers at 3600 Table Mesa Drive for an active shooter.
2:49 p.m.- Boulder Police sends a Tweet urging people to avoid the area around the store due to an active shooter.
3:19 p.m.- A video post shows officers on a bullhorn telling the suspect the building is surrounded and to come out unarmed.
Footage shows authorities responding to active shooter situation at grocery store in Boulder, Colorado: “The entire building is surrounded. You need to surrender.” https://t.co/BD6ErPL8mz pic.twitter.com/4ASETSih5V— ABC News (@ABC) March 22, 2021
3:28 p.m.- Suspect is taken into custody.
6:52 p.m.- Police announce that there are multiple victims who lost their lives. One of the victims is a Boulder officer.
6:53 p.m.- Police say there is no ongoing public threat. There is a person of interest in custody. He was injured and is being treated.
8:24 p.m.- Boulder Police announces the identity of the officer killed in the shooting as 51-year-old Eric Talley.
Chief: Our hearts go out to all families impacted. There are 10 fatalities. She identified slain Police Officer Eric Talley, who was one of the first on the scene. She calls officer's actions "heroic."— Boulder Police Dept. (@boulderpolice) March 23, 2021
Tuesday, March 23
8:30 a.m.- Boulder Police release the names of the nine civilians killed in the shooting and the name of the suspect. The names of those killed are Denny Stong, 20, Neven Stanisic, 23, Rikki Olds, 25, Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Teri Leiker, 51, Suzanne Fountain, 59, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.
Thursday, March 25
8:15 a.m.- The shooting suspect makes his first court appearance. Eleven charges were filed against him — 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. The suspect's attorney, Colorado Public Defender Kathryn Herold, says they'll need to assess the suspect's mental health before another hearing takes place.
Friday, March 26
10 a.m.- During a press conference, investigators said they're continuing a deep dive into the suspect's background and don't have any information to share on a possible motive yet.