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Boulder police officer justified in shooting King Soopers shooting suspect, DA rules

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Posted at 3:17 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 17:17:19-04

DENVER – The Boulder police officer who shot the suspected shooter at the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive was justified in doing so, and his shots were the last ones fired that day inside the store, the district attorney found in his review of the shooting.

The review of the shooting of the Boulder King Soopers suspect by Boulder Police Officer Richard Steidell was done by Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty and the Boulder County Investigation Team. It found that Steidell was the only officer to fire their weapon at the suspect, and that the rounds he fired were the last ones discharged that day.

Steidell fired eight rounds from his 9mm handgun service weapon, the review found, one of which struck the suspect, Ahmad Alissa, in his right thigh, after which Alissa surrendered to police.

Steidell was part of a second wave of officers that entered the store not long after the shooting occurred. Officer Eric Talley, who was killed, was one of three officers in the first wave to respond to the shooting just after 2:30 p.m. on March 22.

After Talley was shot, the two officers with him withdrew and took cover, and one of the officers joined the second group, which included Steidell and at least nine other officers, who were led back into the store by an officer who had a ballistics shield in front of the group.

As the group re-entered the store just before 2:38 p.m., the review found that the suspect fired multiple shots at the officers – the bullets passing over their heads and between the heads of two officers and shattering glass behind them.

The review found that the officers did not announce themselves because they feared they would be ambushed if they were to give away their location. Once they were shot at, according to the review, some officers, including Steidell, took cover.

Steidell was lying in a prone position and could see the suspected shooter down at the end of one of the aisles. He fired several rounds at the suspected shooter, who then disappeared behind the aisle’s end cap.

About 90 seconds later, the suspected shooter reappeared, raised his weapon, and Steidell again shot at him. The suspected shooter disappeared again.

As it turns out, one of Steidell’s rounds had hit the suspected shooter in the right thigh. The officers retreated and waited for the SWAT team to enter the store, after which the suspected shooter surrendered without firing any more shots, the review found.

“Officer Steidell believed that the use of force was required to prevent an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to himself or another peace officer,” Dougherty wrote in the review. “His beliefs were both objectively reasonable and, upon further review, correct.”

The review found that no civilians were shot and killed after officers entered the store that day; that Steidell was the only officer who fired their weapon; and that Steidell’s rounds were the last fired that day.

“I appreciate that the Boulder County Investigation Team conducted an independent and thorough review,” Dougherty said in a statement. “The integrity and outcome of these investigation are important to everyone involved and to our community. This investigation has certainly highlighted the bravery of Officer Steidell and his fellow officers who took such courageous action by charging into an incredibly dangerous and deadly situation.”

The suspected shooter is accused of killing 10 people at the King Soopers that day. He faces 54 counts, including first-degree murder of each victim and 33 counts of attempted first-degree murder for the other people in the store and the officers who responded, among other charges.

He is next due in court on May 25 for a status conference.

Dougherty will hold a town hall on the team's review of the shooting on Monday, May 17 at 10 a.m.