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Victims Of The Mass Shooting In Boulder Included An Aspiring Pilot, A Hero Cop, And A Beloved Store Manager
"She was just great. No, she is great. Still is," victim Tralona Lynn Bartkowiak's brother said of his sibling, as families across the Boulder, Colorado area grieve the loss of loved ones.
A local actress, a beloved store manager, a heroic cop and a former magazine photo director. These are just a few of the people who lost their lives Monday afternoon at a Boulder, Colorado grocery store when a gunman opened fire, killing 10 and forever altering the lives of nearly a dozen families.
The suspect in the attack, identified by authorities as Ahmad Alissa, was taken into custody at the King Soopers and charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
On Tuesday, Boulder Police released the names of all 10 victims who were killed after medical examiners “worked overnight” to identify the victims and notify their families.
“Our hearts go out to all of the victims killed during this senseless act of violence. We are committed to a thorough investigation and will bring justice to each of these families,” Police Chief Maris Herold said.
The victims range in age from 20 to 65 and represent an eclectic mix of the Boulder community—some of whom had been in the store to work and others who had simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time when the gunman opened fire.
Authorities identified the victims as: Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Eric Talley, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.
Here is what we know about who they were:
Denny Stong dreamed of one day becoming a pilot and had taken a job at the King Soopers to earn money for flight school, according to People.
“Denny was a gregarious kid,” Laura Spicer, whose son had been Stong’s best friend, told the news outlet. “Always had something to do and somewhere to go.”
When he wasn’t dreaming of a life in the sky, Stong liked to ride dirt bikes and participate in Civil war reenactments, The Denver Post reports.
Neven Stanisic was leaving the King Soopers Monday afternoon after fixing a coffee machine at the store when he was struck by a bullet and killed in the parking lot, the Rev. Radovan Petrovic, of Saint John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Church, told The Denver Post.
Those who knew the 23-year-old have described him as a spiritual, hardworking and quiet person who had respected his refugee parents and the sacrifices they had made for him by moving to the United States in the 1990s to give him a better life.
“His family fled the war in the former Yugoslavia and everything they had was either left behind or destroyed,” Petrovic said. “They left everything to save their lives, and came here to have a new start.”
Rikki Olds was a “strong and independent young woman” who had been working as the grocery store’s front-end manager when she was killed Monday afternoon, her uncle Bob Olds told CNN.
Olds described his niece—who had been raised by her grandparents—as a “shining light in this dark world.” Others were often attracted to her because of her energetic and charismatic personality, he said.
"From the outside, you might notice her colorful hair, her bubbly personality, her laughter and a smile that lit up the room,” her family said in a statement, according to local station KUSA. “For those of you lucky enough to call her a friend, you knew she was a type of person who would always be there for you.”
Tralona Lynn “Lonna” Bartkowiak had been the manager of a Boulder store that sold yoga and festival clothing, according to The New York Times.
Her brother, Michael Bartkowiak, told the newspaper she had recently been engaged, was the eldest of four close-knit siblings, and had loved her Chihuahua, Opal. He described her as “an amazing person, just a beam of light.”
"She was just great," he said. "No, she is great. Still is."
Suzanne Fountain was an award-winning former local Colorado actress who was an active part of the local theater community for 12 years before leaving the stage. She had most recently worked helping people enroll for Medicare and was known for her compassion, friends told The Denver Gazette.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she was confronting the mother (bleeper) who did this, to be honest with you,” close friend Martha Harmon Pardee said. “She was fearless and funny and giving and just a salt-of-the-Earth person.”
eTown Hall, a theatre venue where Fountain had reportedly worked as a house manager, called her death an “unfathomable loss,” in a post on Facebook.
Teri Leiker had been an employee at King Soopers supermarket for more than 30 years and was a beloved and vocal supporter of the University of Colorado’s marching band.
“She was so energetic and always cheering and singing along with the band whenever we were doing anything,” Matthew Dockendorf, director of the University of Colorado Marching Band, told People. “She was like a super fan.”
Grocery store customer Eve Rose described Leiker, who had worked as a bagger, to The New York Times as a warm and familiar presence who always put her in a better mood.
Officer Eric Talley
Eric Talley, a father of seven, had been one of the first police officers to respond to the shooting Monday afternoon.
Talley had found his calling as a police officer later in life, leaving his job as an IT professional to enroll in the police academy at the age of 40. Just last week, his father Homer Talley told People the officer had been worried about being killed in action and leaving his children, ages 7 to 20, behind.
“He’s a better father than I was,” Homer Talley said. “He loved his children more than anything else. He was very involved with his kids. He showed them love.”
Kevin Mahoney, a former executive for a hotel development and hospitality management company, was about to become a grandfather when he was killed Monday, according to The New York Times.
His daughter, Erika Mahoney—a news director for KAZU Public Radio—announced the death on Twitter calling her dad her “hero.”
“My dad represents all things Love,” she wrote. “I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer.”
Erika said she's expecting a daughter that her father will now never get to meet.
Lynn Murray, a retired photo director who once worked in New York City for magazines like Glamour, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan, had been working as an Instacart shopper when she was killed, according to The Denver Post.
Murray and her husband John Mackenzie left the New York in 2002, moving to Florida and then Colorado to raise their two children, The New York Times reports.
Her family remembers the 62-year-old as a talented artist, amazing cook and devoted mother.
“I just want her to be remembered as just this amazing, amazing comet spending 62 years flying across the sky,” John Mackenzie said.
Jody Waters, a beloved grandmother and friend, had dreamed of one day opening her own boutique, local station KUSA reports.
She did design work for Boulder’s handmade leather goods store, Embrazio, and was remembered by those who knew her for her outgoing nature and optimistic outlook on life.
“We loved Jody,” Scott Schaefer, co-founder of Embrazio, told the news outlet. “She was a beautiful soul. She was a warm person with a light in her eye.”