A suspect was in custody on Tuesday a day after 10 people, including a policeman, were killed in a hail of gunfire inside a Colorado grocery store, marking America’s second mass shooting in a week and adding to the state’s history of deadly massacres.
Authorities have not yet identified the man seen bloodied and limping as he was led away from the scene in handcuffs on Monday. A news briefing was scheduled for late on Tuesday morning.
The shooting at a King Soopers outlet in Boulder, about 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Denver, drew hundreds of responding officers and sent shoppers and employees fleeing for cover.
The first officer on the scene, 51-year-old Eric Talley, was among those killed, a tearful Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a Monday news conference. An 11-year veteran of the force, Talley was the father of seven children and had recently been looking for a less dangerous job, according to a statement released by his father.
Authorities gave few details and offered no possible motive for the bloodshed, which came six days after a gunman went on a killing spree in the Atlanta area, fatally shooting eight people at three day spas before he was arrested.
Witnesses in Colorado described a chaotic and frightening scene inside the store.
Ryan Borowski, 37, went in looking for something to satisfy a sugar craving. He had picked out a 12-pack of soda and a bag of chips when he heard shots ring out, sending him scurrying for the store’s back exit.
“It was pretty terrifying,” he said. “Fastest fire drill I’ve ever been in.”
Sarah Moonshadow, 42, was at the checkout line with her adult son, Nicholas, when the gunfire began.
“And I said, ‘Nicholas, get down.’ And Nicholas ducked. And we just started listening and there, just repetitive shots … and I just said, ‘Nicholas, run,'” she said.
Moonshadow said she tried to attend to a victim she saw lying on the pavement outside the store, but her son pulled her away, telling her, ‘We have to go.'” She broke down in sobs recounting their ordeal, adding, “I couldn’t help anybody.”
Police said the accused gunman was taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries but did not explain how he was hurt. There was no word on when he might face an initial court appearance.
Video footage broadcast by television stations showed a shirtless, bearded man in boxer shorts being led away from the store limping and in handcuffs before he was placed on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance. One of his legs appeared covered in blood.
The killings added to a long line of mass shootings in Colorado that include some of the most shocking episodes of gun violence in modern U.S. history.
In 2012, a young man dressed in tactical gear burst into a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora during a midnight screening and sprayed the audience with gunfire, killing 12 and wounding 70. In 1999, a pair of students went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, murdering 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives.
In Washington, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, wrote on Twitter that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, said the violence again underscored the need for stricter gun laws, which have stalled in Congress amid Republican opposition.
Video captured by an onlooker on Monday, apparently while the shooting was still in progress, was posted to social media and aired on TV stations. The footage shows two bodies lying in the grocery store parking lot, before the person with the camera walks inside and films a third body, as three shots are heard in the background.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 7, which represents 32 employees at the King Soopers outlet, credited some of the grocery workers with helping customers escape through a rear exit.
It also thanked customers and emergency responders who “acted swiftly to prevent even greater loss of life.”
The shooting occurred about 2 miles (3 km) from the flagship campus of the University of Colorado, in the Table Mesa area of the city that is home to a residential neighborhood and the hilltop laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.