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Mass Shooting Survivor Recalls the Scene as Boulder Gunman Turned Himself in to Police Officers

Jené Liebenberg
Mar 24, 2021
10:15 A.M.
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A survivor of the harrowing mass shooting at King Soopers recalls the traumatic incident that resulted in ten people's death as she hid behind a metal door, calling her family.


25-year-old Maggie Montoya, who has worked at the King Soopers in South Boulder for the last three years, was expecting a busy day helping to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, but it ended with ten casualties and the arrest of a mass shooter.

Montoya recalled the harrowing incident, which started around 2:30 p.m. when she heard multiple gunshots and her boss calling out that there was an active shooter.

Healthcare workers walk out of a King Sooper's Grocery store after mass shooting March 22, 2021 | Getty Images

Healthcare workers walk out of a King Sooper's Grocery store after mass shooting March 22, 2021 | Getty Images



Upon hearing the gunshots and warnings, the pharmacy technician and one of her colleagues fled to a room where vaccines were being administered with the hopes that the metal door would provide them the necessary protection.

With the door locked, Montoya decided to phone 911 and then her parents as the multiple gunshots continued to go off sporadically. The 25-year-old shared what she told her family, saying:

“I told them what was happening, told them I loved them and that I needed to go but I’d text them.”



After the first wave of the shooting came to an end, silence ensued so much that Montoya could hear the store's music still playing over the sound system.

A motive for the shooting has not yet been revealed, but Alissa has been charged with ten counts of murder.

The pharmacy technician's running coach started texting her updates from outside as he watched the YouTube live stream. The building was surrounded, but nobody was entering the premises.



The police then spoke over the store's oud speaker, demanding that the shooter surrender himself. The police then stormed the building and arrested the suspected shooter, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.

Chief Harold from Boulder police revealed that 10 victims were killed in the shooting, with the youngest victim being a 20-year-old and the oldest 65. Chief Harold shared:

"We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that this suspect has a through trial and thorough investigation."



Police released the name of the suspected shooter as well as the names of the ten victims. A motive for the shooting has not yet been revealed, but Alissa has been charged with ten counts of murder.

The suspect was wearing only shorts, having removed all of his other clothing when the authorities arrested him. Alissa is scheduled to appear in court for the first time on Thursday, March 25, 2021.

Shoppers and employees who were present at the time of the shooting and managed to escape are equally relieved and thankful to be alive after the ordeal.

Some shoppers and store workers fled out of the back of the shop down an aisle toward safety when they heard the gunshots start to go off while others like Montoya hid inside the store.

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