Gun Shop Owner Says Boulder Mass Shooting Suspect Passed Background Check

(Chet Strange/Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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The suspect charged with killing 10 people in a Boulder grocery store earlier this week passed a background check and lawfully purchased the weapon used in the mass shooting, a Colorado gun shop owner told local news outlets Friday.

Eagles Nest Armory owner John Mark Eagleton said the suspected gunman, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, passed a background check before purchasing the weapon, KUSA-TV reported. Alissa purchased a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle March 16, just six days before the shooting, police noted in an arrest affidavit.

“We are absolutely shocked by what happened and our hearts are broken for the victims and families that are left behind,” Eagleton said in a statement provided to KUSA-TV. “Ensuring every sale that occurs at our shop is lawful, has always been and will always remain the highest priority for our business.”

“Regarding the firearm in question, a background check of the purchaser was conducted as required by Colorado law and approval for the sale was provided by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation,” he added.

The suspected gunman, later identified as Alissa, opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store Monday afternoon.The mass shooting left 10 people dead, including Boulder Police Department Officer Eric Talley. (RELATED: ‘Our Distinct Honor’: Officer Eric Talley’s Handcuffs Used To Arrest Boulder Shooting Suspect)

Alissa is being held at the Boulder County Jail without bond and has been charged with 11 counts of first degree murder. The grocery store and road surrounding it remained closed this week as dozens of law enforcement agencies investigated the matter, KUSA-TV reported.

He faced a judge during a short hearing Thursday morning, and prosecutors later said they intend to file additional charges against him in the coming weeks, KUSA-TV reported.

Alissa was previously arrested for attacking a classmate at Arvada West High School in 2017, according to The Colorado Sun. He pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to probation and community service. A background check also showed he was ticketed for a traffic violation in 2017 and pleaded guilty to violating a license restriction.

Colorado has universal background check laws covering gun sales. But only felony charges prevent residents from purchasing a weapon, according to the Associated Press, whereas Alissa was previously charged with a misdemeanor and a traffic infraction.