BOULDER, Colo. — A gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday afternoon, killing 10 people, including a police officer, the authorities in Boulder said.
The police said that they had taken a suspect into custody after the shooting. That person was injured, the authorities said. Videos showed a handcuffed man being escorted from the building by officers, shirtless and with his right leg appearing to be covered in blood.
People inside the grocery, King Soopers, described a harrowing and chaotic scene inside the store.
“I thought I was going to die,” said Alex Arellano, 35, who was working in the meat department at King Soopers, in the South Boulder area, when he heard a series of gunshots, then saw people running toward an exit near his department.
The authorities identified the officer who died as Eric Talley, a 51-year-old who joined the department in 2010. Officer Talley was the first to respond to the scene when reports of a gunman came in, the police said.
“He was, by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers at the Boulder Police Department and his life was cut far too short,” said the Boulder County district attorney, Michael Dougherty.
Dean Schiller, who posted a live video from the scene shortly after the shooting began, said he heard about a dozen shots and saw three people who appeared to be wounded — two in the parking lot and one inside the supermarket.
As officers secured the building, more than a dozen people were led out of the supermarket, a King Soopers in a residential area a couple of miles south of the campus of the University of Colorado. The grocery store usually draws a mix of families and college students.
In Mr. Schiller’s video, gunshots could be heard coming from inside the store, with officers gathering at the entrance.
Over a loudspeaker, police officers called to the scene could be heard saying, “The entire building is surrounded, you need to surrender.”
“Come out with your hands up,” the officers said. Dozens of police officers and dozens of vehicles descended on the scene.
Newlyweds Quinlyn and Neven Sloan, both 21, had stopped into the store to pick up supplies for beef stroganoff when they heard the shooting. Ms. Sloan, a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said that at first she didn’t know what the noise was.
The couple had split up in the store — he was in produce, she said, and she was standing in front of the dairy case — when customers began running.
“It was muffled at first,” she said, “and I thought maybe someone had dropped something, but then it went again, probably about 15 to 20 shots, really fast. My husband came up and shoved me out the door, and yelled, ‘Call 911!’ Then he ran back in to make sure a couple of older ladies who were in the aisles got out OK.”
Sprinting across the parking lot, she said, she took cover behind a building, to be joined minutes later by her husband. Only then, she added, did they look down and realize that, because they hadn’t bothered to use a cart, they had fled with their arms full of the meat, noodles and sherry they had intended to buy.
“These were people going about their day, doing their food shopping, and their lives were cut abruptly and tragically short,” Mr. Dougherty said. “I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice.”
Alex Arellano, 35, was working in the meat department at King Soopers when he heard a series of gunshots, and then saw people running toward an exit near his department.
“The shots are getting closer,” he recalled. “I’m thinking of my parents, and I was freaking out.” For a while, Mr. Arellano said he and two other men hid in the department. He did not see the assailant but could hear the gunfire.
“We were scared cause, you know, there’s entry points where that individual could show up,” he said. “I thought I was going to die.”
Mr. Arellano and the other men eventually escaped through an exit in the back of the building, he said.
Sarah Moonshadow was at the checkout with her son, when she, too, heard shots fired.
“We ducked and I just started counting in between shots, and by the fourth shot I told my son, we have to run,” she said. As they were running, two shots were fired in their direction, she said.
When they made it outside, they saw a body lying in the road.
“I can tell that he wasn’t moving,” she said. “And so, I’m pretty sure he was gone. And I just broke down across the street. I just couldn’t believe we were able to make it across.”
Ms. Moonshadow moved back to Boulder, her hometown, from Denver after she became concerned about Denver becoming unsafe. “This isn’t how Boulder is, you know,” she said. “This isn’t what happens here.”
Taylor Shaver, who works at Art Cleaners, a dry cleaning and laundry business near the supermarket, said that she heard at least 10 gunshots and saw people running from the grocery store.
“I’m in the bathroom hiding,” Ms. Shaver said. “I heard this loud boom. I instantly knew. There was a ton of shots. My stomach dropped.”
Ms. Shaver, 18, added that it was particularly unnerving because it was her first day working alone at the dry cleaning business. She said she had left the bathroom to see what was going outside the business.
“Oh my gosh, you can see all these people walking with their hands up,” she said. “I’ve never seen this many police officers in my life.”
Jordan Crumby, a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was about to get a tattoo with the word “warning” on her hip at Auspicious Tattoo, a shop across from the grocery store, when the shooting began.
Ms. Crumby, 31, said she stepped outside to record a video of the scene for her Instagram feed, when the police waved her away. Officers with tactical gear and rifles could be seen swarming the shopping center. People from the grocery store, she said, were being evacuated.
“They had their hands over their heads and they’re getting escorted out,” she said. “I said, ‘We should probably go inside.’”
Kevin Daly, who owns a restaurant and brewery in the shopping center, said he was inside, readying his business for reopening after the pandemic when his manager, in a bank across the parking lot, heard the gunshots.
“Someone saw the livestream, so we pulled it up and locked ourselves in the office,” he said, the start of an hourslong ordeal in which he and his employees periodically opened the door to shelter traumatized witnesses to the shooting.
“The guy just went in there and started shooting,” he said. “People were just in shock. A lot of them had seen bodies and carnage.”
Mr. Daly said he didn’t know who the victims were “and I don’t know what happened in the grocery store, but I do know that it is easier to get a gun in this state than it is to get a driver’s license or to vote.”
“And I’m angry,” he said. “And all I know is, this should have stopped after Columbine. It should have stopped after Sandy Hook. And I’m angry that we are still discussing this.”
President Biden had been briefed on the shooting in Boulder and would be kept apprised of any further developments, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said on Twitter.
On Twitter, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he was following the events as they unfolded.
“My prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy,” Mr. Polis said, adding that he was making every public safety resource available to assist the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department.
Sam Weaver, the mayor of Boulder, said on Twitter: “Words can do no justice to the tragedy that has unfolded this afternoon. Our community will soon grieve our losses, and begin our healing.”
Representative Joe Neguse, a Democrat whose district in Boulder includes the site of the shooting, said in a statement that “while there is still a lot we do not yet know, one thing is very clear — tragic incidents of gun violence have plagued our country for far too long.”
Representative Lauren Boebert, Republican of Colorado, who made supporting gun owners’ rights a key part of her agenda, said she was praying for “the police, first responders, and those affected by this tragedy.”
She added: “May God be with us as we make sense of this senseless violence, and may we unify and not divide during this time.”
A partisan divide has been common after mass shootings. While lawmakers in both major parties express sympathy for the victims and responders, Republicans have generally resisted new calls for tighter gun laws after such tragedies, while Democrats have said these moments underscore the need for new and stricter gun laws.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, said, “This Senate must and will move forward on legislation to help stop the epidemic of gun violence.” On Twitter Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, said “We are not powerless to stop this violence — Congress must act to pass gun violence prevention legislation.”
“This is an especially personal tragedy for me,” Gabrielle Giffords, the former representative from Arizona, wrote on Twitter on Monday night. A decade ago she was shot in the head in an attack, also at a grocery store, that killed six and wounded 12 others. “It’s been 10 years and countless communities have faced something similar,” she wrote. “This is not normal.”
She also wrote: “It’s beyond time for our leaders to take action.”
Representative Ed Perlmutter, Democrat of Colorado, wrote on Twitter, “Gun violence is becoming too common in our daily lives, and we must at all levels make the epidemic of gun violence less easy, less frequent and less deadly.” Representative David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island, wrote on Twitter, “We need to put an end to senseless gun violence in this country.”
Representative Buddy Carter, Republican of Georgia, wrote on Twitter that it was “Devastating news,” and said, “We’re sending prayers to Boulder.
Colorado has been the scene of a number of multiple fatal shootings in recent years, including these that made national headlines:
May 7, 2019 — Two students enter a charter school in Highlands Ranch, a Denver suburb near Littleton, and fire at fellow students in two locations. A student who tackles one of the gunmen is fatally shot, and eight others are wounded by gunfire. The two assailants are captured.
Dec. 31, 2017 — A sheriff’s deputy who barricaded himself in an apartment in Highlands Ranch engages in a gun battle with police officers responding to reports of a disturbance. One officer is killed and four are wounded before the police kill the gunman. Two civilians are wounded.
Nov. 27, 2015 — A man armed with an assault-style rifle enters a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and opens fire, killing two civilians and a police officer who confronts him; nine other people are wounded in a 5-hour siege before the gunman surrenders.
Oct. 31, 2015 — A man carrying a semiautomatic rifle shoots and kills three people, apparently at random, on a residential street near downtown Colorado Springs, and then is confronted and shot dead by police officers.
July 20, 2012 — A man walks to the front of a crowded movie theater in Aurora during a midnight screening of a Batman film, sets off tear gas grenades and opens fire on the audience, killing 12 people and wounding 58 with gunfire. Another 12 are injured in the ensuing panic. The gunman is arrested in the theater parking lot.
April 20, 1999 — Two students storm into Columbine High School in Littleton, fatally shooting a teacher and 12 fellow students, and then kill themselves.
The deadly shooting in Boulder, Colo. on Monday, where 10 people were killed, including a police officer, was the second mass shooting in the United States in less than a week.
On Tuesday, a gunman shot and killed eight people — six of them women of Asian descent — at three spas in the Atlanta-area of Georgia.
Until that shooting in Atlanta, it had been a year since there had been a large-scale shooting in a public place. In 2018, the year that a gunman killed 17 people and injured 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., there were 10 mass shootings where four or more people were killed in a public setting.
The following year, when a gunman targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 people, there were nine.
“Those were the worst years on record,” said Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and a co-founder of the Violence Project, a research center that studies gun violence.
But before the shootings in Atlanta last week, there had been no such killings since March 2020, according to the Violence Project.
Other types of gun violence did increase significantly in 2020, according to Gun Violence Archive. There were more than 600 shootings in which four or more people were shot by one person compared with 417 in 2019. Many of those shootings involved gang violence, fights and domestic incidents, where the perpetrator knew the victims, Professor Peterson said.
The early research suggests that widespread unemployment, financial stress, a rise in drug and alcohol addiction, and a lack of access to community resources caused by the pandemic contributed to the increase in shootings in 2020.
The police did not say what may have motivated the gunman in Colorado, who is in custody.
In Atlanta, the shootings touched off calls to stop hate crimes against Asian-Americans, which have been rising during the pandemic. Some have blamed that rise on words used by former President Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly called the coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, “the Chinese virus.” The police have not ruled out bias as a motivating factor in the shooting even as the suspect denied such racial animus, officials said.
The city of Boulder enacted bans on assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines in 2018 following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. But a state district court judge ruled this month that Boulder could not enforce the bans.
It was not known Monday night whether any weapons covered by the bans were involved in the shooting at the King Soopers grocery store.
Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that under a state law passed in 2003, cities and counties are barred from adopting restrictions on firearms that are otherwise legal under state and federal law, The Denver Post reported. Gun advocates made that argument when they sued to overturn the Boulder bans shortly after they were adopted.
The judge rejected the city’s arguments that the home-rule provisions of the state constitution gave it the power to adopt the bans as a matter of local concern, and that they were necessary because the state did not regulate such weapons. As of last week, lawyers for the city had not said whether they planned to appeal.
An assault weapons ban in Denver was allowed to stand by the Colorado Supreme Court in 2006. But the circumstances were somewhat different. Among other things, Denver’s ban, unlike Boulder’s, had already been on the books for years when the 2003 state law was passed.
An appeals court found that Denver had the right to adopt reasonable gun regulations despite that law. When the decision was appealed, the State Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 with one recusal. That left the appellate decision, and the Denver ban, in place, but it did not set a binding precedent for other cases.
Boulder’s ban is also being challenged in federal court on constitutional grounds.
Bryan Pietsch reported from Boulder, Will Wright from New York and Neil Vigdor from Greenwich, Conn.