Beyond Understanding: Boulder has claimed the lives of ten people.
On Monday, ten people were shot and killed in a Colorado grocery store. Among the victims was a police officer who was one of the first on the scene.
When Eric Talley, 51, entered the Boulder Police Department at the age of 40, he had already had a career in the tech industry.
He was as busy on patrol as he was at home, raising seven children, the youngest of whom was seven and the oldest of whom was twenty. Officer Talley’s mode of transportation, a 15-passenger van, was remembered by a neighbor.
He had done such an excellent job teaching his children first aid that when one of his sons swallowed a fifth, another son sprung into action, using the resuscitation skills he had learned from his father. Only a few weeks ago, the police department presented the older son with a lifesaving certificate.
On Monday, Officer Talley was on duty when he received a barrage of calls alleging gunshots at a King Soopers grocery store. He was the first to arrive.
The officer’s father, Homer Talley, a retired optics engineer who lives near Abilene, Texas, said, “The world lost a great soul.” “The joy of his life was his family.”
The gunfire of a heavily armed man killed 10 victims in Boulder, Colo., including Officer Talley, in the same way it killed people shopping at a Walmart store in El Paso in 2019 and those working in three Atlanta area spas last week.
They were young and old, single and married, consumers and employees of King Soopers. The youngest was 20 years old, and the oldest was 65 years old.
Some had worked at the supermarket for years. Others had only been in the shop for a short time. Many of them left behind family and acquaintances who couldn’t understand what had happened and were more interested in discussing how their parent or acquaintance had survived rather than how they had died.
“I don’t want her name to be just another name next to an age on a list,” said Alexis Knutson, 22, a friend of Teri Leiker, 51, a King Soopers employee who died in the attack after working there for about 30 years.
Ms. Knutson met Ms. Leiker through the Best Buddies program, which pairs University of Colorado Boulder students with community members who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ms. Knutson recalled going to university athletic activities with Ms. Leiker and how much she enjoyed cheering on the teams.
Ms. Knutson described her as having “the largest, brightest smile.” “She always had these dimples, and her smile was just big, particularly when she was excited about something.”
She was a bagger at the time. If a customer offered to help her with her purse, she would cheerfully bat their hand away and say, “I’ve got this.”
Despite their age gap, Ms. Knutson said they bonded and spoke often. She said, “I always had a rule: she couldn’t call before 9 a.m. because I like my sleep.” “She used to call me at 6 a.m. every day.”
Rikki Olds, another King Soopers employee, was also killed. In an interview, her uncle, Robert Olds, said she had worked as a front-end manager at the store for around seven or eight years.
Ms. Olds was an enthusiastic young woman who, according to her uncle, “brought life to the home.”
She was the oldest of three siblings and was abandoned by her parents when she was a child, according to Mr. Olds, who added that she was raised by her grandparents in Lafayette, Colorado.
Ms. Olds had recently moved out on her own, but she still visited her grandmother’s house on a daily basis to spend time with her grandmother and other relatives.
Mr. Olds explained, “My mother was her mother.” “She was raised by my mother.”
Denny Stong, 20, was a long-time employee at the shop. He was a student at Fairview High School in Boulder just a few years ago.
He complimented a classmate, Molly Proch, on her superhero T-shirt one day in a Fairview corridor, and the two became quick friends.
Ms. Proch, 20, said, “I’ve spent most of my morning crying, very puzzled about how anything like this could happen again.” “At a grocery store, he was a necessary employee. It makes my stomach turn.”
Mr. Stong enjoyed hunting and was a keen supporter of the Second Amendment, according to Ms. Proch, but he also advocated tightening some gun regulations. She said, “He was so adamant about explaining how he felt the government should treat guns” in order to prevent mass shootings.
Mr. Stong had recently requested that friends donate to the National Foundation for Gun Rights in honor of his birthday on his Facebook page.
Mr. Stong aspired to be a pilot and worked extra shifts at King Soopers to help pay for plane fuel while studying for his pilot’s license, according to Laura Spicer, whose son was Mr. Stong’s best friend.
On Monday, Lynn Murray, a 62-year-old mother of two, was also at work, but not for King Soopers. Ms. Murray had arrived to pick up an Instacart order.
Her husband claimed that she had withdrawn from working behind the scenes in the New York fashion industry. According to her ex, John Mackenzie, she was a former photo director for several glossy New York City-based magazines, and the couple moved out of New York in 2002, first to Stuart, Fla., and then to Colorado, to raise their two daughters.
Mr. Mackenzie said, “I just want her to be remembered as this beautiful, amazing comet that spent 62 years floating across the sky.” “Our tomorrows will always be packed with overwhelming sorrow.”
Ms. Murray was a fashion expert of a different sort to her daughters, Olivia, 24, and Pierce, 22, with a knack for designing their Halloween costumes.
Olivia Mackenzie said, “The most undeserving person to have to be shot down I can think of has to be my mother, and I just wish it could have been me.”
Another victim’s daughter, Erika Mahoney, remembered on social media how her father, Kevin Mahoney, 61, had walked her down the aisle for her wedding last summer. Ms. Mahoney, the news director for KAZU Public Radio in Monterey, California, expressed her sadness on Twitter.
She wrote, “I know he needs me to be strong for his granddaughter,” adding that she is now expecting. “I will always love you, Dad. You’re still there for me.”
Mr. Mahoney was the chief executive officer of Stonebridge Companies, a hotel construction and management agency, before retiring in 2014, according to a Stonebridge spokesperson.
Neven Stanisic, 23, had been working at the Starbucks inside the store, but had left and was in the parking lot when he was shot, according to the Rev. Radovan Petrovic, the family’s priest.
Mr. Stanisic was born in the United States, the son of Serbian refugees who fled central Bosnia during the 1990s conflict. On his Facebook profile, he has a lot of anime sketches. His profile photo shows him wearing a blue cap and gown and posing with friends from his high school in Lakewood, Colorado.
“He was the shining hope of a family who, like many refugees, had come with essentially nothing but their lives to start a new life here,” Father Petrovic said.
Mr. Stanisic had gone straight to work with his father fixing coffee machines in the Denver area after graduating from high school, according to Father Petrovic.
“They ran away from battle to save their lives, and then they were hit by such a horrific disaster — the loss is unfathomable.”
Suzanne L. Fountain, 59, was recognized by her neighbors in Broomfield, Colorado, as a prolific gardener who gave away a steady stream of tomatoes, lettuce, and basil over the tall wooden fence that enclosed her yard.
Laura Rose Boyle Gaydos, who lived next door to her until recently, said, “She grew some incredible vegetables.” “She was always patient with us,” says the narrator.
Ms. Fountain had planted a peach tree and could often be seen sitting outside in the early evenings, watching the sun fall over the mountains. She had raised a son and been through a divorce in her home for more than 20 years.
She had been an actress in the early 1990s, appearing in Denver Center for the Performing Arts productions, but she had stopped. Ms. Fountain began a new career in 2018, launching a company that advises people who have just turned 65 on how to apply for Medicare.
Another survivor, Tralona Lynn “Lonna” Bartkowiak, was the face of Umba, a Boulder yoga and festival apparel store. Ms. Bartkowiak, 49, was the manager of Umba, a company created by her sister, and she was a regular at Burning Man and other festivals, where she met potential customers.
Michael Bartkowiak, her brother, remembered, “Her boys.” “She used to say it all the time. ‘I adore my people,’ she says.
Ms. Bartkowiak was the oldest of four siblings who were extremely similar. “She rented a house outside of Boulder and stayed there with her little Chihuahua, Opal,” her brother explained. She had recently become engaged. She was vegetarian — stir fry, salads — and she was still trying to eat better.”
On Monday, Ms. Bartkowiak was at the grocery store picking up a prescription when the shooting started.
Officer Talley was born in Houston and raised in Albuquerque, according to his father, and had been with the Boulder Police Department for 11 years.
He made the local paper, The Boulder Daily Camera, not long after joining the Boulder department. He and two other officers were mentioned for a difficult operation involving wading into a drainage ditch to rescue a stranded mother duck and 11 ducklings.
The elder Mr. Talley explained, “We’re all trying to bring the pieces back together.” “It was always on my mind — and on his mind — that anything like this could happen. He was worried because he didn’t want to put his family through such an ordeal.”