BOULDER, Colo. – A police officer first on the scene. The glue in a friends group of “outcasts.” Workers at King Soopers. A huge CU Boulder sports fan. An actor in local theater.
Ten people were killed in a horrific massacre Monday when a gunman opened fire in a Colorado supermarket.
Soon after police in Boulder, Colorado, identified the 10 victims, whose ages ranged from 20 to 65, friends and family began remembering the lives of their lost loved ones.
Flags will be flown at half-staff at public buildings statewide for 10 days, to honor the 10 victims, beginning April 1, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement.
“This has been a painful year, and we sit here once again surrounded by seemingly incomprehensible loss,” Polis said.
Their names, according to Boulder Police:
- 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
- Jody Waters, 65
Stong, the youngest victim in Monday’s shooting, was a 2019 graduate of Fairview High School, Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Rob Anderson said in a statement. He also worked at King Soopers
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In portraits for his senior year of high school, Stong is seen wearing a leather jacket riding a motorcycle.
“I think behind the leather jacket and the roughness, was really, a really sweet young man,” Rose Lupinacci, assistant principal at Fairview High School, told KDVR-TV.
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A GoFundMe page set up for Stong’s family raised more than $14,000 by Tuesday evening. Stong “was a kind soul with a funny sense of humor and unique interests,” wrote the page’s organizer, James Noland.
“He did nothing wrong and deserved this in no way at all,” Noland wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He made no choice that led to this. He simply showed up to work, and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Stong was training to become a pilot, often building model planes and taking part in the Boulder Aeromodeling Society.
“We at the club are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of his passing as well as all of the innocent individuals who perished yesterday. It’s shocking to see events like this so close to home,” Boulder Aeromodeling Society President Aidan Sesnic told KDVR-TV.
Stanisic’s parents came to the U.S. as refugees in the 1990s, the Rev. Radovan Petrovic of Saint John the Baptist Serbian Orthodox Church told the Denver Post. He was born in the United States and graduated from Alameda International Jr./Sr. High, the Post reported.
“His family fled the war in the former Yugoslavia and everything they had was either left behind or destroyed,” Petrovic told the Post. “They left everything to save their lives, and came here to have a new start.”
Petrovic’s wife, Ivana Petrovic, called Stanisic an “amazing child” in an interview with the Post.
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“We’ve known the family ever since we became their spiritual father and mother here,” she told the newspaper. “He was a very good, shy, hardworking boy and one of those kiddos who listened to his parents the best.”
Petrovic told the New York Times that Stanisic worked with his father repairing coffee machines throughout the Denver area. Stanisic had just finished on a machine at a Starbucks inside the supermarket and was already in the parking lot when he was shot Monday, Petrovic told the Times.
“I was thinking, he missed a few seconds to leave earlier and he’d probably be alive,” Petrovic told KDVR-TV.
Olds worked at King Soopers and was a former member of the union that represents grocery workers, UFCW Local 7 said in a statement.
Tanice Cisneros, 26, said she and Olds, a 2013 graduate of Centaurus High School, remembered meeting in 4th grade, but there are photos of them together from when they were even younger.
Cisneros said the pair and a few other friends formed a group of “outcasts” with Olds as their glue. “We were the weird ones. We were the loud ones. But we always had a lot of fun,” Cisneros said.
“She always made sure that anybody around her was smiling and laughing,” Cisernos said.
Olds lived most of her life in Lafayette, Colorado, with her grandparents, though she bounced around a few times in Boulder County. Cisernos said her friend just kept coming back to their town. “She loved it here.”
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Olds and her grandfather shared a special relationship, so that made it all the harder when he died the day after her 18th birthday, Cisernos said.
During her free time, Olds enjoyed hiking and being with friends. When the group graduated high school and some moved away, Olds kept in touch with everyone, Cisernos said.
Her work at the grocery store also fit her personality, Cisernos added. “She loved interacting with people. She’s a very outgoing person.”
Katie Dilley, who went to high school with Olds, said she remembered “her smile and her laugh.” Dilley said they weren’t close, but Olds had a tight-knit group of friends in their small high school.
A week before they graduated in 2013, Dilley said another student at their schoolplanted a pipe bomb, prompting an evacuation.
No one was killed in the incident, but Dilley said it sparked fear throughout the class. “What I’ve been reflecting on is that fact … if you survive one incident, you might not survive the next,” she said. “It’s just so normal now.”
JD Mangat, a city council member in Lafayette, said he also went to high school with Olds and was neighbors with her and her family. Mangat said he and other officials in Lafayette were discussing how to honor Olds with a memorial in the town.
Bartkowiak, who went by Lonna, owned an arts store in Boulder with her sister, called Umba, which is Balinese for “sisters.”
Michael Bartkowiak, her brother, told the New York Times she was the oldest of four siblings. He told the Times his sister was “an amazing person, just a beam of light.”
“She rented a house outside Boulder and lived there with her little Chihuahua, Opal,” Michael Bartkowiak told the Times. “She had just gotten engaged. She was, you know, organic – stir fries, salads – she was always trying to be healthier.”
Bartkowiak said his sister often attended festivals such as Burning Man and loved interacting with festivalgoers there. “Her people,” he told the Times. “She would always say that. ‘I love my people.'”
Fountain was an award-winning local theater actor, according to The Gazette. She was close with fellow actress Martha Harmon Pardee – she was present for the birth of Pardee’s son and the matron of honor at her wedding, the newspaper reported.
Fountain won a Denver Drama Critics Circle Award as Best Supporting Actor for her performance as Laura Wingfield in a production of “The Glass Menagerie,” The Gazette reported.
From 1990, Fountain was active in the local theater scene for 12 years, according to The Gazette.
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In a 2002 review of the “Wit,” in which Fountain played a nurse, a Boulder Daily Camera critic wrote that Fountain “brings a simple, but crucial compassion to the play,” adding, “this production deserves to play to full houses.”
“She was fearless and funny and giving and just a salt-of-the-Earth person,” Pardee told The Gazette, adding she wouldn’t be surprised to discover Fountain confronted the shooter in order to save others.
The Boulder Daily Camera reported that Fountain also worked to help enroll clients in Medicare. “She was always bright and incredibly warm,” Hilarie Kavanagh, owner of Medicare Licensed Agents, told the newspaper. “You could just see it in her eyes.”
Leiker worked at King Soopers for 31 years, according to KDVR-TV in Denver.
Alexis Knutson told the New York Times she met Leiker through a program called Best Buddies at University of Colorado Boulder, which connects students with community members who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“She had the biggest, brightest smile,” Knutson told the newspaper. “She always just had these dimples that, especially when she got excited about something – her smile was just huge.”
Knutson told the Times that Leiker was a huge fan of the college’s sporting events.
The school’s marching band director, Matt Dockendorf, told the Denver Post that the band often gathers early on Fridays to rally support before home football games.
“She was there even before we started gathering, which is half-an-hour before the stampede started,” Dockendorf told the newspaper. “She was just a staple. She was kind of a personal cheerleader for the band.”
Talley was the first officer to arrive at the King Soopers store and was killed during a shootout with the gunman, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said.
Talley had been with Boulder police since 2010, Herold said.
“He was by all accounts one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut too short,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.
This photo tweeted by the Boulder Police Department late Monday, March 22, 2021, shows Officer Eric Talley. (Photo: AP)
It “didn’t surprise me he was the first one there,” Homer Talley, the officer’s father, told KUSA-TV.
Talley had seven children of his own, ranging in ages from 20 to 7, his father told KUSA-TV.
“He had a great sense of humor, he was a prankster,” Homer Talley said. “He loved his family more than anything.”
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Talley was one of three officers who helped save a group of ducklings that had been trapped in a drainage ditch, according to a 2013 article from the Boulder Daily Camera,
Talley “waded into the calf-deep water to try and round up the ducks himself,” the article said. “He was drenched after this,” Boulder police Sgt. Jack Walker told the newspaper. “They would go into these little pipes and he would have to try and fish them out.”
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management said a collection effort is underway for the officer’s family.
Erika Mahoney, news director of KAZU Public Radio near Monterey, California, wrote on Twitter that her father was killed during the shooting.
“My dad represents all things Love. I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer,” she wrote in a tweet sharing a photo of her and her father.
I am heartbroken to announce that my Dad, my hero, Kevin Mahoney, was killed in the King Soopers shooting in my hometown of Boulder, CO. My dad represents all things Love. I’m so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer. pic.twitter.com/SLS2bdm5Hc
Mahoney said she was also pregnant: “I know he wants me to be strong for his granddaughter.”
According to the New York Times, Mahoney worked at a hotel development and hospitality management company before leaving in 2014.
Murray’s husband, John Mackenzie, told the New York Times that his wife was a former photo director for magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Glamour. The mother of two was at the supermarket filling an Instacart order, something she did in retirement to help others, he told the newspaper.
“I just want her to be remembered as just as this amazing, amazing comet spending 62 years flying across the sky,” Mackenzie told the Times.
Mackenzie told KDVR-TV that once he learned about the shooting, he drove to the supermarket and texted his wife. After five minutes, there was still no answer. ““I just fell over in my chair,” he said.
“She had an aura about her that was the coolest freakin’ thing you’d ever want to know. She was just a cool chick,” he said. “She had it all together – she really did.”
Her daughter, Olivia Mackenzie, told the Times, “The most undeserving person to have to be shot down I can think of has to be my mother.”
Colorado state Rep. Judy Amabile, speaking on the Colorado House floor, said she knew Waters from a local store where she shops.
“I’m so sad for them and for their families,” Amabile said.
The Daily Camera in Boulder reported Waters worked in and owned boutiques on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall. Jeff Shapiro, who owned a store in the area for several years, told the Daily Camera, ‘“It sounds like a cliche, but she would light up a room.”
Shapiro told the newspaper that Waters and he bonded over their home state of Illinois. Waters also had two daughters. KDVR-TV reported Waters had one grandchild.
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