On March 22, a 21-year-old gunman walked into a Boulder, Colorado grocery store and opened fire. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa’s actions at the King Soopers grocery store claimed the lives of 10 people. Those people had families, and according to the family members who have spoken out, their loved ones were just that, beloved by the people they surrounded themselves with.
Over the last 48 hours, several family members and friends of several of the victims who died in the shooting have come forward to honor the memory of the fallen. These are some of their stories, some of which as told by legendary journalist Katie Couric via Instagram.
Kevin Mahoney was a 61-year-old father and a hero in his daughter’s eyes. Along with a photo of Mahoney walking his daughter, Erika, down the aisle on her wedding day, Erika took to Twitter to share the news that her father was one of the 10 victims slain in the mass shooting.
“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. My dad represents all things Love. I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer.” Erika also thanked the Boulder police for their kindness during this difficult time and later added, “I love you forever Dad. You are always with me.”
Rikki Olds was just 25 years old. However, despite being so young, Olds managed to make a lifelong impact on the people who loved her. As Couric reports, if there was only one word used to describe Olds it would “bubbly.” Olds had a personality that could make anyone smile. Olds was a manager at the supermarket and she loved cats, octopuses, cats, unicorns, and the color black.
“She was a beautiful person,” her grandmother Jeanette Olds told the Denver Post. “She was a beautiful soul. We’re all taking it pretty hard. She was a big part of our life here.” Her friends, many of which are her co-workers, said Olds had a knack for making people laugh when they were frustrated at work. “She had one of the bubbliest personalities that anyone could have,” friend Brittany Tubbs told the Denver Post. “She literally made friends no matter where she was.”
Eric Tally was a 51-year-old police officer and father of seven children. Tally had been a member of the local police force for 11 years. According to Couric, “he was among the first responders to run into the supermarket. He was fatally shot while trying to save others.” The beloved father joined the police force at 40 years old after one of his closest friends passed away after he was hit by a drunk driver.
Talley’s sister, Kristin Brooks told the Washington Post that, “I honestly know my brother, when he heard there was a shooting in a supermarket, I know his first thought was, ‘There are kids in there.’ He loved his kids. His family shopped at King Soopers. I knew Eric would have wanted to save every single one of those lives. I know why he flew in there first because he was thinking, there are families in that store.”
Suzanne Fountain was known around the boulder community for her work at the local theater, as well as her day job as a financial healthcare counselor. According to Couric, Fountain enjoyed spending her free time not only performing but also tending to her garden and sharing her tomato and basil crops with neighbors and friends. Fountain was also a mother.
The owner of the medicare agency where Fountain worked, Hilarie Kavanagh, Fountain was a lovely and “genuine person,” who had “tons of integrity.” Fountain was also the House Manager at eTown Hall. The non-profit wrote this about Fountain on Facebook, “Suzanne was a bright light to all she met, and we were proud to have her represent eTown in our community as she welcomed people into our space hundreds and hundreds of times. This is an unfathomable loss for all of us.”
Denny Stong was the youngest of the victims killed on Monday. He was just 20 years old. According to the Denver Post, Stong was “an avid model-airplane flyer and builder who loved motorcycles and was preparing for his first big Civil War reenactment.”
On a GoFundMe account set up for Stong’s family, a friend of the 20-year-old’s, James Noland, wrote, “He was a kind soul with a funny sense of humor and unique interests. It was only ten days ago that we were all hanging out at Bianca’s house, talking and laughing together. This is the last thing I would have ever expected.”
Nevin Stanisic was at King Soopers on Monday working on one of their coffee-making machinery. He was just 23 years old. Stanisic’s reverend, who knew him and his family since Stanisic’s was a mere 6 years old, told Fox 31 that he was a “very-well mannered” man and that he loved his family very much.
“He exited the store,” the reverend said. “He was on his way to another project, another job. He got to his car and that is where he was gunned down.” The reverend said that Stanisic’s family is turning to their faith for strength and taking solace in knowing that their son is in a better place.
Tralona Bartkowiak was just 49 years old when she passed away on Monday. Bartkowiak, according to 9 News, was a small business owner who will be remembered as “kind and giving.” Lona, as she was affectionately called, owned a local store downtown with her sister.
Frequent customer, Nicholas Pollio, said “every time” he walked into their store, he “felt like family. Felt like a part of home.” Lona’s friend and former roommate, Stacy Dixon, told 9 News that the memorial that has formed outside of her store just shows how “giving and kind and uplifting and just really inspiring in how giving she was.”
According to the Denver Post, Teri Leiker was a longtime King Soopers employee and a beloved fan of the University of Colorado’s Golden Buffalo Marching Band. As the band’s director Matt Dockendorf told the Post, Leiker never missed a Friday night “stampede,” which marked the celebration of all home CU football games.
“She was there even before we started gathering, which is half-an-hour before the stampede started. She was just a staple. She was kind of a personal cheerleader for the band.” Current and past band members say they are hurting knowing that Leiker is gone.
Jody Waters was 65 years old. In 1973, Waters graduated from Barrington High School. Her classmates remembered their friend in a Facebook group created so that they could all stay in touch with each other. Blair Corbett took to the group to share a statement with her fellow classmates following the news of Waters passing.
“I am saddened to inform the group of the sudden passing of our ’73 alumni Jody Waters, a victim of the senseless mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado on March 22, 2021. While I knew Jody in school, I know others, Boyd Corbett, Douglas Roy McCullagh, and others knew her very well as both fellow students, as well as close friends into adulthood. Pleases contact those that you knew were friends of Jody and her family that may want to try to get in touch.“
According to NBC 5, Waters worked in the fashion industry and had dreams of opening her own boutique one day. The owners of the store where she worked also took to social media to share their condolences. Stephanie Boyles, one of the owners of Embrazio, said Waters always had style and fun! “She was so special to work with because people just gravitated to Jody.”
Lynn Murray was a 62-year-old retired photo editor and former Ohio University Bobcat. During her years as a photo editor, Murray’s work was featured in top magazines like Glamour, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan. Murray was also a mother and her daughter Olivia Mackenzie called her “the biggest light in everybody’s life.”
“My mom was the least deserving person to die this way,” Mackenzie told the Denver Post. Murray is also survived by another child and her husband. Murray was killed in the store while working as an Instacart Shopper. “My wife, none of the victims, would ever want you to live in fear. They’d want you to be bolder & live bolder. That’s what this place is about,” her husband told the Associated Press.
May we remember the love and impact these 10 loved ones brought to our world. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen during the difficult time.
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