Colorado prosecutors filed 43 new criminal charges Wednesday against the man suspected of gunning down 10 people, including a police officer, at a supermarket.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, had originally been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder before prosecutors filed an amended complaint stemming from the March 22 mass shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder.
He’s now facing a 54-count complaint that includes 10 counts of first-degree murder, 33 counts of attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault and 10 counts of using a prohibited large-capacity magazine while committing a crime.
Conviction for first-degree murder carries a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole, Boulder DA Michael Dougherty told reporters on Thursday.
“We’re going to work as hard as we possibly can to reach the right outcome and to insure the shooters is held fully accountable,” he said.
The prosecutor said investigators still don’t have a grasp on what might have motivated the shooter.
“I understand the community and certainly the victims’ families want to know why that King Soocpers and why Boulder?” Dougherty said.
“I know that in other mass shootings that have taken place across the United States, there’ve been times when they’ve been unable to ever identify a motive. And you don’t need motive to prove that someone acted with intent and after deliberation in court. But if our community and especially for those families, they want to know why. So we’re going to keep working as hard as we can to uncover that.”
The murder charges were listed in order investigators believe they were killed by Alissa. The 10th murder count stems from the fatal shooting of Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, who was the final victim, according to Dougherty.
Talley, 51, had been the first officer to arrive at the King Soopers. He was father of seven and an 11-year veteran of the Boulder police force.
The new criminal complaint also listed the alleged targets of Alissa’s gunfire. They include Patrick Kruse, Angela Peacock, James Graham, Kelly Rae Dorr, Sarah Moonshadow, Nick Edwards and Christopher Tatum.
The court document also named officers who were allegedly fired upon by Alissa, and they include Bryan Capobianco, Pam Gignac, Richard Steidell, Bryan Plyter, Alexander Kicera, Jenny Schmeits, R.J. “Richard” Smith, Brandon Braun, Michael West, Jeffrey Brunkow and Samuel Kilburn.
Capobianco and Gignac were with Talley and among the first three Boulder police officers to face the shooter, Dougherty said.
“Less than 30 seconds after Officer Talley was shot and killed and the two other officers were victims of attempted murder, a second wave of officers then engaged and went into King Soopers,” Dougherty said.
The first-degree assault charge against Alissa stems from the “serious bodily injury” suffered by Elan Shakti, according to the complaint.
“She was fleeing in an attempt to get away and went down and fractured her T6 vertebrae,” Dougherty explained, adding that there were about 115 people inside the store and 25 in the parking lot when gunfire erupted that day.
The suspect was arrested at the scene after he was shot in the leg by police. That officer fired seven times at Alissa and hit him once, the prosecutor said.
Alissa’s attorney could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.
The accumulation of charges opens the door for more evidence, allowing prosectors to paint a fuller picture of what happened at King Soopers, according to Aya Gruber, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School.
“I think they are bringing in as many victims as possible to give them victim status under the law. Additionally, the more charges, the more evidence that becomes admissible,” Gruber said.
“At some point, charge stacking becomes prejudicial, but it is usually acceptable if the charges mostly relate to different victims.”
Liza Torres contributed.