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Here's What We Know About The Victims Of The Boulder Shooting

Star Samkus, who works at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo., and knew three of the victims of a mass shooting there a day earlier, kneels in front of crosses put up for the victims outside the store on Tuesday.
David Zalubowski
Star Samkus, who works at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo., and knew three of the victims of a mass shooting there a day earlier, kneels in front of crosses put up for the victims outside the store on Tuesday.

Updated March 24, 2021 at 1:32 PM ET

A gunman shot and killed 10 people at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday afternoon.

The victims ranged from age 20 to 65. Some of them were shopping at the store; some worked there. One was a police officer who arrived to help.

Here's what we know about the lives that they lived. We will update this story as we learn more.

Eric Talley, 51

Boulder police Officer Eric Talley is being mourned as a brave officer as well as a husband, a brother and father to seven children.

"Officer Eric Talley is my big brother. He died today in the Boulder shooting," a woman who identified herself as Talley's sistersaid on Twitter, posting a photo that appeared to show the two of them together when they were children.

"My heart is broken. I cannot explain how beautiful he was and what a devastating loss this is to so many," she added. "Fly high my sweet brother. You always wanted to be a pilot (damn color blindness). Soar."

Talley "responded to the scene, was the first on the scene, and he was fatally shot," said Boulder police Chief Maris Herold, who described his "heroic action."

She added, "I'm grateful for the police officers that responded, and I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley."

Talley served a number of roles in his work for the police department and in support of the local community, Herold said. Talley reportedlyheld a master's degree in computer science, but he switched careers around age 40.

"I can tell you that he's a very kind man, and he didn't have to go into policing, he had a profession before this, but he felt a higher calling," Herold said of Talley on Tuesday.

She added, "He loved this community, and he's everything that policing deserves and needs."

In 2013, Talley and two other officers drew a crowd – and eventually, a round of applause – when they rescued ducklings that had been swept out of a creek and into a caged drainage ditch. It was Talley who waded into the water to coax the ducklings to a spot where his colleagues could scoop them up.

"He was drenched after this," Sgt. Jack Walker said of Talley at the time. "They would go into these little pipes, and he would have to try and fish them out."

Kevin Mahoney, 61

Erika Mahoney, news director at NPR member station KAZU on California's central coast, remembered her father as representing "all things Love."

"I am heartbroken to announce that my Dad, my hero, Kevin Mahoney, was killed in the King Soopers shooting in my hometown of Boulder, CO," she wroteon Twitter. "I'm so thankful he could walk me down the aisle last summer."

Mahoney is pregnant and expecting a daughter. "My dad will never be able to hold her," Mahoney told Morning Edition. "But I know on some level he'll be there. He was so excited, and I'm going to tell her that he loves her so much."

"He was like a dad to the entire neighborhood," Mahoney said.

Kevin Mahoney is remembered by his daughter, Erika

"He would play outside with us for hours in the summertime, like hide and seek all over the neighborhood. A lot of my friends have been texting me today and throughout this time, saying that he was like a dad to them, too. He was just like the best dad ever."

Mahoney says she grew up going to King Soopers; the store is very close to the family's house.

Teri Leiker, 51

Teri Leiker was a dedicated King Soopers employee who had worked at the store for more than 30 years, her friend Lexi Knutson wrote in an Instagram tribute, calling her "the most selfless, innocent, amazing person I have had the honor of meeting."

Knutson said the two met in 2017 through the University of Colorado Boulder chapter of Best Buddies, a program that aims to create one-on-one friendships between students and members of the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"Her shy friendship towards me turned into a sort of sisterhood," Knutson wrote, adding that "Teri and I spoke almost every week (especially at 6am, Teri's preferred call time of choice.) She always ended the calls with 'love your buddy Teri.' "

Leiker was a "CU Boulder super fan" who loved going to work, Knutson said. She told Reuters that Leiker had started dating a colleague-turned-friend in 2019. He was working at the store on Monday, she said, but survived the shooting.

"Teri leaves behind her family, her boyfriend Clint, and many close friends that truly cared about her," she wrote.

Rikki Olds, 25

Rikki Olds worked as a front-end manager at the King Soopers grocery store, according to The Denver Post. Her Facebook page identifies her as a graduate of Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colo., and a student at Front Range Community College, which has multiple campuses in Colorado.

Lori Olds, who identified herself in a Facebook post as Rikki's aunt, wrote that "the Lord got a beautiful young angel yesterday at the hands of a deranged monster."

Her uncle, Bob Olds, told CNN she was a "strong, independent young woman" who was raised by her grandparents. After frantic hours spent calling police and local hospitals in search of information, he said the family was notified of her death around 3 a.m. on Tuesday.

United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 7, which represents grocery store employees including those at King Soopers, confirmed that Olds was a worker at the store and a former union member. It also confirmed that "a few" of its members were working during the shooting, and, citing the ongoing investigation, said it would share more details as they become available.

Lisa Lowe, a social studies teacher at Centaurus High School, told NPR over email that Olds was "a leader, not a follower" who was fiercely protective of her loved ones and had a smile that could light up a room.

"She truly brought joy," Lowe wrote. "I will cherish the lunchtime conversations that we had together, and I am sad that we won't get to see the impact that she could have had on this world."

Lynn Murray, 62

Lynn Murray, a retired photo editor, was at the grocery store working as an Instacart shopper when she was killed.

Before moving to Colorado, Murray lived in New York City and worked for magazines, including Glamour, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan, according to The Denver Post. She grew up in Mentor, Ohio, and attended Ohio University.

"My mom was the least deserving person to die this way," her daughter, Olivia Mackenzie, told the Denver paper.

Mackenzie said her mother was an artist and a doodler. "She was the most beautiful person I ever met," she said. "She is the warmest, kindest, most positive person."

"She was an amazing woman, probably the kindest person I've ever known," her husband, John Mackenzie, toldThe New York Times. "Our lives are ruined, our tomorrows are forever filled with a sorrow that is unimaginable. She was one of the greatest people you'd ever want to know: hard working, loving and compassionate, caring, went out of her way to make sure everyone else had a smile on their face."

Tralona Bartkowiak, 49

Tralona "Lonna" Bartkowiak was a founder with her sister of Umba, a clothing and art store in downtown Boulder.

"Fueled by their passion for travel, music, and art, the two of them began selling clothing at music venues, festivals, and local fairs, and Umba came to be," the shop's Facebook page says.

Her brother, Michael Bartkowiak, told The New York Times that she was the eldest of four siblings in a close-knit family. He described her as "an amazing person, just a beam of light."

He said that she had recently become engaged and that their family had gathered last month in southern Oregon. She lived in a house outside Boulder that she shared with her Chihuahua, Opal, her brother said.

Suzanne Fountain, 59

Suzanne Fountain was an actress who had performedwith the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' theater company.

"I wouldn't be surprised if she was confronting the mother (bleeper) who did this, to be honest with you," Fountain's close friend Martha Harmon Pardee toldThe Denver Gazette, guessing that Fountain had died trying to save others. "She was fearless and funny and giving and just a salt-of-the-Earth person."

The Colorado Sun reportedthat Fountain was a financial counselor at Boulder Community Health, where she helped "clients navigate Medicare."

She was also a house manager at eTown Hall, a music venue and community center that produces a radio show.

"Suzanne was a bright light to all she met, and we were proud to have her represent eTown in our community as she welcomed people into our space hundreds and hundreds of times," eTown postedto its Facebook page. "This is an unfathomable loss for all of us and a painful reminder that our society can and must do a better job to prevent these acts of violence from becoming normalized in our culture. This is heartbreaking."

Denny Stong, 20

Denny Stong's Facebook profiledescribes him as a resident of Boulder and an employee of King Soopers since 2018. "I can't stay home. I am a Grocery Store Worker," his profile picture says.

A fundraiser for Stong's family said he was "a kind soul with a funny sense of humor and unique interests," and said that he had risked his life to protect others during the attack.

"He did nothing wrong and deserved this in no way at all. He made no choice that led to this. He simply showed up to work, and was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said the post by James Nolan, who described himself as lifelong friend.

A post on Stong's page from earlier this month asks for donations to a gun rights foundation.

Jody Waters, 65

Jody Waters had an eye for style and design, which she channeled into a career in fashion.

Her friend and business colleague Stephanie Boyle said Waters would help her set up booths at local events for her leather accessories business, and gave her advice on stores with which to collaborate.

The two were friends for eight years, and Boyle described Waters as a gentle spirit.

"When you were in her presence, you felt the love," Boyle said. "Also, she was looking to be her best self."

Waters had two daughters and a young grandchild, Boyle said.

Boyle said she learned the news about Waters' death on the evening of the shooting through a friend.

"I'm just heartbroken. It just seems so senseless," Boyle said, her voice breaking. "This person just went and killed her. And he didn't know her."

Neven Stanisic, 23

Neven Stanisic was the son of Serbian refugees from Bosnia who came to the U.S. in the 1990s and was hard-working and faithful, church leaders said Tuesday.

At 23 years old, Stanisic was the next-to-youngest victim in the shooting Monday.

"His family fled the war in the former Yugoslavia and everything they had was either left behind or destroyed," the Rev. Radovan Petrovic of Saint John the Baptist told The Denver Post.

"They left everything to save their lives, and came here to have a new start."

"The family is wondering, how this can happen here in this country, to which they fled from war from madness, from poverty — leaving everything behind or being expelled from centuries-old homes homes ... to come to this country and start the new life, and then to have this tragedy happen to them and to lose their son here," the clergyman said.

Stanisic was working for a company that maintained coffee machines. He had just finished working on a machine at the Starbucks in the grocery store, police told the family, according to Petrovic. Stanisic was likely the first victim, having just gotten into his car, where he was shot.

Stanisic graduated from Alameda International Jr./Sr. High and in May 2016, he updated his Facebook cover photo with a picture where he is surrounded by his friends dressed in blue caps and gowns. It appears to be the last time he updated his profile.

Ivana Petrovic, wife of the Rev. Petrovic, said they often held Stanisic up as a model of behavior for their own children.

"We've known the family ever since we became their spiritual father and mother here. He was a very good, shy, hardworking boy and one of those kiddos who listened to his parents the best," she said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.
Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
May Ortega
May is a Texas native who came to New Mexico to begin her professional career as a journalist in early 2017. She previously worked as a technology and healthcare reporter with Albuquerque Business First and has held various internships with newspapers around the country.May joined KUNM's Public Health New Mexico team in early 2018. While print news has been her livelihood since her college days, she sees radio as a more intimate way to provide a platform for underrepresented voices.
Andrew Kenney
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.