PHOTOS: Boulder Community Grieves Lives Lost In Deadly King Soopers Shooting
In Boulder, residents are still reeling from Monday’s shooting at King Soopers that left 10 people dead.
Social workers and counselors in Boulder organized a virtual support group for people traumatized by the shooting. Several other community groups are working to support people affected by the tragedy, including the victim’s families.
If you need mental health support, call thestate’s crisis line1-844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255.
Among the victims was local police officer Eric Talley, a 51-year-old husband and father of seven. He was the first officer to respond to the shooting.
Talley’s police cruiser has been parked in front of the Boulder Police Department headquarters since Tuesday morning. Residents have shown up in droves to pay respects with flowers and American flags.
“It’s like you can just feel the loss in the whole city. The energy in the city just feels very sedate and calm. And sad,” said Patricia Sermon. The Boulder resident didn’t know Talley personally, but she wanted to thank him for his service.
“I just think that it’s important to reflect and honor his sacrifice,” she said. “Especially as a member of this community here in Boulder. It’s such a wonderful place to live and I think we all deserve to feel more safe.”
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold called Talley’s actions responding to the shooting “heroic.” The nine other victims were not members of law enforcement. They were grocery store workers and other locals.
Outside the King Soopers in South Boulder, hundreds of residents have been paying their respects. Pastor Michael Dean taped a sign on a chain link fence that’s now lined with hundreds of bouquets of flowers.
Dean’s church is just five minutes up the road from the store. He’s worried the community won’t be able to mourn and process the tragedy together, due to coronavirus restrictions.
“It appears to be people are secluding themselves even more now,” he said. “And so that's what we're here to do, is show that the community is still here. We're still here. There's still hope.”
Several residents who spoke to KUNC said the Table Mesa King Soopers has been central to the South Boulder community. They shopped for food there, connected with other residents and knew the names of store staff, like Teri Lieker.
51-year-old Lieker is one of the 10 people who died in the shooting. Resident Dawn McSavaney describes Teri as a kind person who always wanted to make conversation while helping with bagging.
“You recognize the staff and you know the names of the employees that help you consistently and regularly. And she was a bright spot,” McSavaney said of Lieker.
McSavaney said she just finished buying groceries there less than an hour before the alleged gunman entered. She still has the receipt.
“They build relationships with their customers and it's just been really great,” McSavaney’s daughter Paige McSavaney said of the King Soopers. “And so I think the atmosphere is sad. But, you know, I think it's still filled with, like, a lot of love.”
Paige was on her way to a doctor’s appointment, she said, when her route got blocked off by police cars. She didn’t know what to do and turned into the store parking lot to figure out how to get to her destination.
“I had to open my car door to just try and understand what was going on,” she said. “And a SWAT member told me that there was an active shooter inside and told me to stay in my car and stay down.”
Paige did as she was told, she said, sitting there for about 15 minutes, hearing gunshots in the distance. Then a SWAT member told her to get out of the car and run.
“So I ended up running out and there was just a crowd of people,” Paige said. “And I think for about ten minutes we all just kind of listened and waited.”
Then she saw police bring the alleged shooter out in handcuffs. She came back to the parking lot today, her car still stuck behind fencing and police tape, to put bright yellow flowers in the fence lining.
“I'd like to see the store open up and just have support surrounding its opening and with its employees,” Dawn McSavaney said. “I mean, this is going to be a trauma that's not going to go away for a long time. And we're going to need a lot of healing and I just think social support and structure to help this particular shopping center get back on its feet.”