Colorado suspect got assault weapon 6 days before shooting

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A mourner leaves a bouquet of flowers along a fence put up around the parking lot where a mass shooting took place in a King Soopers grocery store Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BOULDER, Colo. – The suspect accused of opening fire inside a crowded Colorado supermarket was a 21-year-old man who purchased an assault weapon less than a week earlier, authorities said Tuesday, a day after the attack that killed 10 people, including a police officer.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa bought the weapon on March 16, just six days before the attack at a King Soopers store in Boulder, according to an arrest affidavit. It was not immediately known where the gun was purchased.

Alissa, who is from the Denver suburb of Arvada, was booked into the county jail Tuesday on murder charges after being treated at a hospital. He was due to make a first court appearance Thursday.

Investigators have not established a motive, but they believe Alissa was the only shooter, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.

A law enforcement official briefed on the shooting said the suspect’s family told investigators they believed Alissa was suffering some type of mental illness, including delusions. Relatives described times when Alissa told them people were following or chasing him, which they said may have contributed to the violence, the official said. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The attack was the nation’s deadliest mass shooting since a 2019 assault on a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman killed 22 people in a rampage that police said targeted Mexicans.

In Washington, President Joe Biden called on Congress to tighten the nation’s gun laws.

“Ten lives have been lost, and more families have been shattered by gun violence in the state of Colorado,” Biden said at the White House.