Boulder shooting victims: store staffers, cop, photographer
Three were gunned down while putting in a day’s work at a Colorado supermarket. Another was a police officer who raced in to try to rescue them and others from the attack that left 10 dead.
A picture of the victims of Monday’s shooting began to emerge as the suspect in the killings remained hospitalized Tuesday but was expected to be booked into jail on murder charges.
Those who lost their lives at the King Soopers store in Boulder ranged from 20 years old to 65. They included a magazine photographer, a Medicare agent with a passion for theater and others going about their days at a busy shopping plaza.
They were identified as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; police Officer Eric Talley, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65.
Leiker, Olds and Stong worked at the supermarket, said former co-worker Jordan Sailas, who never got the chance to bring his baby son into the store to meet them.
He joined the police force in Boulder in 2010 with a background that included a master’s degree in computer communications, his father said.
“At age 40, he decided he wanted to serve his community,” Homer “Shay” Talley, 74, told The Associated Press from his ranch in central Texas. “He left his desk job. He just wanted to serve, and that’s what he did. He just enjoyed the police family.”
Eric Talley was the first to arrive after a call about shots being fired and someone carrying a rifle, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said.
Talley was “by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers” in the department, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.
Talley’s father said his son — who had seven children, ages 7 to 20 — was a devoted father who “knew the Lord.”
“When everyone else in the parking lot was running away, he ran toward it,” Shay Talley said.
“We know where he is,” he added. “He loved his family more the anything. He wasn’t afraid of dying. He was afraid of putting them through it.”
Talley graduated from high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1988. The school superintendent there expressed condolences and praised “the example Officer Talley leaves us all.”
Murray was shopping at King Soopers, where a friend’s daughter had seen her. Word made it to her husband, John Mackenzie, who drove to the store and started texting his wife.
After getting no answer in about five minutes, “I just fell over in my chair,” he said, choking up.
Murray had a long career taking photos for magazines including Cosmopolitan and Vogue, Mackenzie said.
“She charmed the pants off me” when they met at a photography studio in New York City years ago, he said. Computer backgammon games soon evolved into a relationship and eventually, two children.
“She’s the kindest person I ever knew, hands down. She had an aura about her that was the coolest freakin’ thing you’d ever want to know. She was just a cool chick,” Mackenzie said. “She had it all together — she really did.”
He said he spent hours consoling their children before he “lost it” Tuesday morning. Mackenzie offered a message:
“Don’t live in fear. My wife, none of the victims, would ever want you to live in fear. They’d want you to be bolder and live bolder. That’s what this place is about.”
Fountain was a Medicare agent, helping people sign up for the federal health insurance program for older adults and get supplemental coverage, said Hilarie Kavanagh of Medicare Licensed Agents in Boulder, where Fountain worked for the past two years.
Fountain also devoted time to local theater, winning praise for her acting from both reviewers and those who worked with her.
“She was absolutely lovely, a natural, someone you simply didn’t forget,” Brian Miller, who worked with her on a show, told The Denver Post.
A Boulder Daily Camera review said her 2002 performance as a nurse in “Wit,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a woman dealing with cancer, brought “a simple but crucial compassion to the play.”
Her grandmother choked up on the phone as she described the young woman she played a large role in raising.
“She was just a very kind and loving, bubbly person who lit up the room when she walked in,” said Jeanette Olds, 71, of Lafayette, Colorado.
The longtime King Soopers employee loved to watch the University of Colorado marching band perform in a kickoff celebration called the Pearl Street Stampede on Friday nights before home football games on the Boulder campus, band director Matt Dockendorf told The Denver Post.
“She was there even before we started gathering, which is half an hour before the stampede started,” Dockendorf said. “She was just a staple. She was kind of a personal cheerleader for the band.”
Associated Press writers Patty Nieberg in Boulder, Colorado, and Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contributed. Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
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