Colorado suspect’s family saw him fiddling with gun days before shooting -court documents
(Reuters) – Two days before police said Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa had armed himself with a semi-automatic AR rifle and pistol and put on a tactical vest, he was playing with a gun in his home in Arvada, Colorado.
The sight alarmed his family. The gun didn’t look like a rifle seen in old western films, Alissa’s sister-in-law told police on an affidavit. It looked more like a “machine gun”.
Alissa said a bullet was stuck. The family took it away from him and were upset that he was playing with a gun around the house.
On Monday, police said the 21-year-old man stormed a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, killing 10 people with one shot of spray.
Little is known about Alissa or what may have motivated him to open fire in the store. The 10 victims, ages 20 to 65, included Eric Talley, an 11-year veteran of the Boulder Police Department.
According to the court’s affidavit, on March 16, six days before the shooting, Alissa bought a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic pistol – a weapon that resembles a semi-automatic rifle and has a capacity of 30 rounds.
His sister-in-law, whose name appears on the court document, told investigators that she believed the gun his family had taken from Alissa would be back in his room on Monday evening.
Alissa, a US naturalized citizen from Syria who graduated from Arvada West High School in 2018, faced a summons for third-degree assault after slapping a classmate in the face multiple times in November 2017, Arvada Police Department.
The classmate said the attack was unprovoked and without warning, a report backed by interviews with several witnesses quoted in the police report.
Alissa told the investigator that the classmate had previously referred to him as a “terrorist” and other racist names and recorded a video of him in the classroom and posted it online, which made him angry.
The police did not release any record of how the case was resolved.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Alissa had a lawyer in his current case, and family members didn’t respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Ali Aliwi Alissa, the suspect’s 34-year-old brother, told The Daily Beast that Alissa was antisocial, paranoid and sometimes talked about “being followed” or looking for him in high school.
Records from Arvada West High School show he was on the wrestling team for two seasons during his senior year, according to Cameron Bell, a school district spokeswoman.
Alissa, who was being treated for a leg injury sustained in an exchange of fire with responding police, is in jail awaiting her first court appearance on murder and other charges. Authorities said they were confident that he acted alone.
Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Julia Harte in Washington; Edited by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis, and Peter Cooney