Boulder shooting suspect passed background check, Arvada gun shop says

The Eagles Nest Armory in Arvada confirmed Thursday night that it sold the Boulder mass-shooting suspect a gun and that he passed the required background check, leading the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to clear him to buy the weapon.

The purchase by Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, from the shop at 12371 W. 64th Ave. — first reported by 9News — was acknowledged by the shop’s owner, John “Mark” Eagleton.

“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 sent to The Denver Post on Thursday night. “Ensuring every sale that occurs at our shop is lawful, has always been and will always remain, the highest priority for our business.”

According to his arrest affidavit, Alissa bought a Ruger AR-556 pistol on March 16, six days before the shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder that took the lives of 10 shoppers, employees and a responding police officer.

After the killings, police recovered a rifle and a handgun inside the grocery store, according to the affidavit, though it’s not clear which was the Ruger, a gun that’s technically classified as a pistol though it looks like a semi-automatic rifle.

Eagleton’s statement did not identify the type of weapon sold to Alissa.

“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 said. “We have and will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement as their investigation continues.”

Alissa has a 2018 misdemeanor assault conviction on his record, but that is not something that would have precluded him from buying a gun in Colorado.

The shooting suspect was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder Thursday. His defense attorney told the judge she needs time to “fully assess Mr. Alissa’s mental illness.”

He remains in custody without bond, though he has been moved out of the Boulder County Jail to an undisclosed facility over concerns about his safety.

The Eagles Nest gun shop is in Arvada, where the alleged gunman lived with his family. Police have said they don’t know why the suspected shooter targeted a Boulder grocery store.