BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Friends, customers, neighbors, and those that lived in the community before all came by the King Soopers grocery store on Tuesday to pay their respects and show their support for a city and state heartbroken by another mass shooting. Those who left flowers and added to the memorial said they had to be there to truly mourn the 10 lives lost.
“I just wanted to come and pay my respects to the people who lost their lives and those who experienced the tragedy and to the police officer who lost his life,” said Lisa Turner, a former Boulder resident who lived in the area for years and used to shop at that store. “My heart goes out to them, my heart breaks, I can’t imagine finding out that your loved one’s been killed by mass shooter, it’s just ridiculous.”READ MORE: 'Going To Take Some Time': Community Gathers To Remember Victims, Heal Together After Olde Town Arvada Shooting
Turner traveled from Lafayette and bought flowers at another King Soopers so she could leave them at the memorial and say a prayer for all the families affected by the shooting. She said the thought of having to enter a grocery store the day after a shooter killed so many people in the parking lot and inside the store did make her hesitate, but Turner said she had to do it.
“You can’t stop doing what you do and you still have to support your community and your local businesses and you have to move forward,” she told CBS4 after placing flowers on the fence.
A fence surrounds the closed King Soopers parking lot on Table Mesa Drive and goes around the property, which remains a crime scene. Throughout the day, people came by to leave flowers, signs, and other tributes to the victims. The constantly changing winter weather conditions including snow and graupel did not keep community members from taking time to stop and remember those killed on Monday. The memorial continued to grow into the evening, expanding to all sides of the fence.
“I just love this community, I’ve lived here for over 20 years and my heart is breaking,” said Catie McDowell, a resident who says South Boulder itself is a tight community. “I wanted to be here, it hasn’t felt real, I live five blocks away and I could have been 300 miles away because I wasn’t down here.”
McDowell made a sign saying “#SoBo Strong” for South Boulder and explained for that neighborhood the grocery store and other surrounding businesses make up a community center and hub for residents like her.READ MORE: Water Quality Control Commission Votes Down Proposal To Allow More Pollution In Colorado Waterways
“It felt important to come and see and be with people and gather with people who love this place as much as I do,” she said to CBS4. “We can finally say this is nonsense for the community after community to have to go through this.”
As a regular shopper at this King Soopers who knows the cashiers and other employees, she thinks about what a difficult year they’ve already had during the COVID-19 pandemic and she cannot imagine the fear that comes with their job now having lived through a mass shooting. McDowell admits she is scared about returning inside that store.
“It’s going to be really hard, it’s going to be really hard,” McDowell said. “I think some part of me wants to be here and thank the grocery workers but another part of me doesn’t really want to have to go back in.”
For these women and the dozens of other community members who stopped by the memorial, it is a small reminder of the love in this community. They felt that honoring the victims was one small way they could help each other start to heal.
“It’s a beautiful, wonderful, loving place, people are really upbeat and caring,” Turner said. “You just don’t expect this, nobody does, you know, until it happens and it just takes you to your knees.”MORE NEWS: Colorado Woman Cassondra Stratton Missing After Miami Condo Collapse
The 10 victims in the shooting at the King Soopers store in Boulder on Monday have been identified. They are: grocery worker Denny Stong, 20, Neven Stanisic, 23, grocery worker Rikki Olds, 25, Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Suzanne Fountain, 59, grocery worker Teri Leiker, 51, Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.