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Colorado mass shooting suspect was on FBI’s radar prior to attack, report says

FBI agents. (Melanie Rodgers Cox/US Air Force)
March 24, 2021

The man suspected of killing 10 people in Boulder, Colo., on Monday was on the FBI’s radar before his attack, according to the New York Times on Tuesday.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, was connected to an individual who is under investigation by the federal law enforcement agency, officials told the Times. No additional details were revealed in the outlet’s report.

The bureau faced backlash on social media following the report, including freshman Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who called out the federal agency.  

“Reports are that Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was previously known by the FBI,” Greene tweeted. “What did they know and when did they know it? America demands answers.”

Local police identified Alissa as the alleged gunman on Tuesday, charging him with 10 counts of first-degree murder. The suspect is being held at the Boulder County Jail.

The victims of the mass shooting included veteran Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. The others killed during the attack were identified as Denny Ston, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.

As of Wednesday, investigators have not determined a motive for the deadly shooting, according to Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty.

As a high school senior, Alissa was found guilty of assaulting a classmate, a police affidavit revealed, as Fox News reported. The suspect “got up in classroom, walked over to the victim & ‘cold cocked’ him in the head.” The attack was reportedly in response to “racial names” the student had called Alissa weeks before.

The teenager was sentenced to probation and community service and was suspended from school.

Angel Hernandez, one of Alissa’s former wrestling teammates, said the suspected gunman once became furious after losing a match during practice, claiming that he would kill everyone. The coach reportedly kicked Alissa off the team following the enraged response.

“He was one of those guys with a short fuse,” Hernandez told The Associated Press. “Once he gets mad, it’s like something takes over and it’s not him. There is no stopping him at that point.”

His teammate also noted that Alissa would sometimes behave strangely, suddenly turning around or looking over his shoulder.

“He would say, ‘Did you see that? Did you see that?’” Hernandez recalled. “We wouldn’t see anything. We always thought he was messing with us.”

The alleged shooter’s family told law enforcement that Alissa was suffering from mental illness and delusions.