A judge reportedly blocked enforcement of an assault-weapons ban in Boulder, Colorado, just 10 days before a man opened fire inside a supermarket in the city, killing 10 people.
According to The Denver Post, the Boulder City Council previously voted unanimously to pass a ban preventing the sale of both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the municipality back in May 2018.
But on March 12, Boulder County District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that he couldn't enforce the ban in Boulder because of state laws that say individual cities cannot override state or federal law concerning the sale of firearms, the outlet reports.
"These provisions are invalid, and enforcement of them is enjoined," wrote Hartman in the ruling, according to the Post.
"The Court has determined that only Colorado state (or federal) law can prohibit the possession, sale and transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines," he added.
Police initially received reports of an active shooter at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder around 2:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
Victims, Suspect in Boulder Supermarket Shooting Identified: "We Are Heartbroken"
According to witnesses, the shooter entered the store and immediately began shooting. A shopper who was inside the store told The Denver Post that the shooter entered the building, "let off a couple of shots, then was silent, and then he let off a couple more."
Another witness told KCNC-TV that they heard "15 to 20" gunshots within a matter of seconds.
One man, Ryan Borowski, told CNN he ran for cover after he heard gunshots while at the store to pick up soda and snacks. "We just all ran to the back of the store and out the back door and employees showed us the way," he said, in part. "And we told the employees what was going on. So everybody helped each other and we just ran to safety as quickly as we could."
Kim Cordova, president of the local union United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7, described the grocery-store workers as heroes.
"We know that when they heard gunshots, some of the workers grabbed coworkers, also led customers out to safety through various exits throughout the store, including the back dock and the back area of the store," Cordova told 9NEWS in a statement.
"They work during every manmade or natural disaster, and now, they again stepped up helped save customers and members of the community," she added. "They continue to be heroes."
During a press conference on Tuesday morning, the victims were identified as Denny Strong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowika, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Officer Eric Talley, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.
The suspected shooter was identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa of Arvada, Colorado. "There was an exchange of gunfire and the suspect was shot," said Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold at the press conference. "The suspect in stable condition and was taken for treatment."
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Witnesses Recount "Horrifying" Scene of Boulder Shooting, Heroic Actions of Supermarket Employees
"I am so sorry this incident happened," Herold told reporters. "We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that this suspect has a through trial and thorough investigation."
Alissa has been charged with 10 counts of murder, according to Herold. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty told reporters that authorities have not yet identified a motive in the shooting, but that they do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community.
"At this time, we'll say that the community is safe," Dougherty said, adding that he will also pursue justice for the 10 victims and their families.
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