Store workers, gun rights supporter, grandfather-to-be among Colorado shooting victims

A mourner leaves flowers after a gunman opened fire at a King Sooper's grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on March 23, 2021.
A mourner leaves flowers after a gunman opened fire at a King Sooper's grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on March 23, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

BOULDER, Colorado (REUTERS) - The 10 people killed in Monday's (March 22) shooting at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, included store employees who loved their jobs, a motorcycle fan who was a gun rights supporter and a man who had just walked his daughter down the aisle.

At least three victims appeared to have worked at the store.

For Teri Leiker, 51, it had long been a happy place. She worked there for some 30 years and was even dating a colleague, according to friend Lexi Knutson.

"She loved going to work and enjoyed everything about being there," Knutson told Reuters. "Her boyfriend and her had been good friends and began dating in the fall of 2019. He was working yesterday too. He is alive."

Leiker was among the 10 people shot at the store on Monday whom authorities identified on Tuesday.

Knutson said she met Leiker in 2017 through a University of Colorado programme that says it aims to foster friendships between students and "members of the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities." The University of Colorado's flagship campus is near the store.

Knuston said Leiker had an intellectual disability and that she thought her job had come through a special needs work programme.

The 10 victims ranged in age from 20 to 65 and included Eric Talley, an 11-year veteran of the Boulder police force. Talley, 51, was the father of seven children and had recently been looking for a less dangerous job, according to a statement released by his father.

Denny Stong, 20, was the youngest victim.

Earlier this month, Stong asked via Facebook that his friends honour his birthday by making a donation to the National Foundation for Gun Rights, whose website says it works "to expand pro-gun precedents and defend gun owners."

"I've chosen this non-profit because their mission means a lot to me," he wrote. "I hope you'll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me."

On his Facebook page, Stong said he was a fan of planes, bikes and motorcycles. In a nod to coronavirus-induced lockdowns, he'd framed his profile picture with the words "I can't stay home, I am a Grocery Store Worker."

Rikki Olds, 25, whose Facebook page was full of pictures of rivers, mountains and waterfalls, as well as selfies with her boyfriend Jordan Arthur, also reportedly worked at the store.

"Rikki baby, you were taken too soon. I miss you dearly," Arthur wrote on Facebook above a selfie of the two of them, grinning in front of a rocky hill.

Sterling Monroe, identified on Facebook as a friend of Neven Stanisic, 23, who died in the attack, told Reuters he believed Stanisic was born in Serbia.


People leave flowers at the site of a mass shooting at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on March 23, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

"I can tell you he had a heart of gold. Always there for me in high school. Always a good person in and out," Monroe said.

The Serbian embassy in Washington, DC said it was looking into the case and did not have any immediate information.

Victim Kevin Mahoney's daughter, Erika, posted a photo on Twitter of the 61-year-old looking moved as he walked her down the aisle at her wedding last summer.

"My dad represents all things Love," Erika Mahoney wrote, noting that she is now pregnant and that she knows her dad "wants me to be strong for his granddaughter."

"I love you forever Dad," she wrote. "You are always with me."