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The Boulder, Colorado shooting suspect reportedly had a history of violence and of making anti-LGBTQ comments.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a 21-year-old Syrian immigrant who has lived most of his life in the U.S., has been charged with murdering ten people at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder on March 22. He was arrested after being shot in the leg by police during the attack.
Alissa entered the store on Monday afternoon and opened fire, killing three employees, six bystanders, and one police officer trying to stop Alissa’s attack.
His brother, who lived with Alissa, said he was suffering from mental illness and started becoming increasingly “paranoid” in 2014, CNN reports.
Former classmates and high school wrestling teammates told the Washington Post that Alissa had an explosive temper, including “pummeling” a student who allegedly used an ethnic slur.
After losing a wrestling match he allegedly told teammates, “I’m going to kill you guy,” before leaving, according to the Post.
SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors online extremism, analyzed Alissa’s Facebook page and noted that it didn’t show “any radical or extremist views.”
However, he did post about his opposition to LGBTQ issues, SITE executive director Rita Katz told the Post, saying he “frequently discussed PlayStation 4, Islam, and his stance against same-sex marriage.”
“God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve just saying,” Alissa wrote in one post.
Katz said no ultimate motive for Alissa’s actions had been determined, but said that “based on what I’ve seen of his social media presence, he didn’t even remotely suggest having radical Islamist leanings, or really radical leanings of any kind.”
“There are already some suggesting he was a jihadi or anti-Trump terrorist, but social media posts they cite as evidence don’t really back it up,” Katz added.
Alissa will have his first court appearance on Thursday, after he was taken to hospital in the aftermath of the attack to have a gunshot wound in his leg treated.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the nation’s first out gay governor, told CNN that Alissa’s actions “won’t make sense to anybody” regardless of whatever motive the police investigation determines.
“There is no good motive, it is evil,” he said. “We will learn the dimensions of it, everybody is asking now why that site, why those people, none of us know that.”
Speaking today on CBS This Morning, Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver said that his city was “still just getting out of shock” in the wake of the attack.
“It is quite difficult to digest, something like that happening in your backyard,” Weaver said. “I think the grieving is just beginning to start as we learn the names, and of course the stories behind the people who were killed.”
On Tuesday, President Biden urged Congress to pass tougher gun laws, including banning assault weapons and expanding background checks on gun sales.
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