Chilling audio has detailed how panicked Boulder Police officers told dispatchers a ‘bearded man’ in a tactical vest was opening fire on them and they were instructed to take ‘head-shots only’ as the Colorado grocery store massacre unfolded.
Ten people, including Boulder police officer Eric Talley, were shot dead inside the King Soopers grocery store on Monday afternoon when a gunman opened fire.
Audio from the police scanner, obtained by NBC’s 9News, has detailed the chaos of the active shooting, including how officers were fired upon as they entered and how they were unable to locate the gunman for some time.
Reports of the shooting first came in at about 2.30pm when a dispatcher could be heard on the police scanner alerting officers: ‘It looks like we have an active shooter’.
Officers were told a white man had been seen firing at people with a rifle in the parking lot.
They were told he was possibly wearing a tactical vest and were instructed to take ‘head-shots only’.
Sarah Moonshadow is comforted by David and Maggie Talley after Moonshadow was inside King Soopers grocery store during a shooting in Boulder on Monday
Pictured: King Soopers employees are led away from an active shooter at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, U.S. March 22. 2021
As law enforcement arrived, they found a scene of carnage. Two people were lying unresponsive on the ground outside the store, with a third just inside the entrance. Pictured: Police guard people evacuated after a call of an active shooter at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder
Officers are seen on an armored truck as it approaches the scene of the shooting on Monday
Police stand outside the King Soopers grocery store where the deadly shooting took place on Monday afternoon
As more law enforcement arrived, they found scenes of carnage.
Two people were lying unresponsive on the ground outside the store and a third just inside the entrance.
‘Shooter inside! He just shot at us twice,’ one officer can he heard shouting on the scanner.
‘Officer down inside the building,’ another yelled.
Audio from the shooting indicates that Talley was shot within 20 minutes of the first call coming in.
‘Multiple people down so far. One officer down. Unknown status. We can’t get to him,’ one officer said.
‘Due to body armor, head-shots only,’ one officer said over the radio around 30 minutes into the shooting, according to audio obtained the Colorado Sun.
As the chaos continued to unfold, a dispatcher could be heard asking: ‘You may need more than one helicopter?’
‘Multiple people down,’ an officer responded.
It’s unclear if the man with the bleeding leg (pictured in handcuffs) is the suspected gunman
The shirtless man is seen being loaded onto a stretcher after the shooting on Monday
Shoppers are escorted out of a King Soopers grocery where a gunman opened fire on Monday
A SWAT team member runs toward the King Soopers grocery store where a gunman opened fire on Monday in Boulder
Boulder (depicted) is located about 25 miles northwest of Denver
In addition to the harrowing dispatch audio, witnesses who fled the store have since described their terror.
One survivor, Ryan Borowski, told CNN he was on his way to buy ice cream when he heard three loud pops, after which everyone started running.
‘We ran to the back of the store and out the back door and employees showed us the way. We told employees what was going on so everybody helped each other,’ he said.
‘I didn’t see the shooter. I saw terrified faces running towards me and that’s when I turned and ran the other direction.’
Alex Arellano, 35, told the New York Times ‘I thought I was going to die’.
He was working at the King Soopers when he heard gunshots and saw people fleeing.
James Graham, a 47-year-old from Erie, said he was in the check-out lane of the supermarket when he heard a loud bang, followed by glass falling on him. He initially thought something had fallen on him, but he quickly realised he was being shot at.
‘I can can still smell the gunpowder,’ Graham told the Daily Beast, saying he ran to the back of the grocery store where people were escaping through a loading dock.
Nevin Sloan, who narrowly escaped with his wife Quinlan, said panic then set in as the sound of gunshots drew closer and shoppers were forced to decide whether to stay put or make a break for the exit.
A law enforcement officer speaks with a woman outside the perimeter of a shooting site at King Soopers grocery store in Boulder on Monday
Sarah Moonshadow and her son Nick stand outside the crime scene after being inside Kingsoopers during the shooting
‘All of a sudden we started hearing more, like ‘bang, bang, bang, bang’ and I sprinted over to her and just told her ‘hey we need to get out of here’,’ he told CBS, saying they had helped others flee through an emergency exit.
‘I just nearly got killed for getting a soda and a bag of chips,’ Ryan Borowski, who was in the store when he heard at least eight gunshots, told CNN.
‘It doesn’t feel like there’s anywhere safe anymore.’
Anna Haynes, 21, told the Daily Beast that she watched the events unfold from her window.
A gunman killed 10 people, including Boulder Officer Eric Talley (pictured), at a grocery store in Colorado on Monday
She said she froze when she saw a man shoot someone on a ramp into the store, before telling her roommate.
‘We just stared and we’ve been staring ever since,’ Haynes said, speaking from her porch. ‘I saw it but I didn’t believe it.’
Mark Naughton, 53, said he also saw the gunman shoot someone in the parking lot as he watched from his window, having just returned from the store himself. ‘I was a terrified he might be coming across the street this way,’ he told the Daily Beast.
Another witness told The Denver Post the suspect ‘didn’t say s**t’ before he began shooting at people inside the store.
‘He just came in and started shooting,’ the witness said. Another witness recalled the gunman ‘let off a couple of shots, then was silent, and then he let off a couple more. He wasn’t spraying.’
Another man who said he was shopping at the store told KCNC-TV that he heard ‘one loud bang, thought somebody just dropped something an employee or something, and then another, and then by the third one, everybody was running’.
He said they ran to the back of the store, found the employee area and workers told them how to escape. He said they walked single file, with their arms on the backs of those in front of them.
Another man told KCNC said his family was inside the pharmacy at King Soopers to get a Covid-19 vaccine when the shooter entered the building.
‘I got the call from my daughter and my grandchildren that my son-in-law walked into the pharmacy for him to get a Covid-19 shot and the shooter came in, shot the woman in front of them,’ the man told the station.
He said his family then hid in a closet for an hour before they were rescued.
‘They were texting, hiding in the coat closet. Turned their phone off and were going ‘we’re hiding, we’re okay’ you know, ‘don’t call’ you know the phone would ring and give away their position,’ he added.
Heavily-armed officers are seen standing outside the supermarket on Monday afternoon
Healthcare workers were rushed out of the King Soopers grocery store after a gunman opened fire inside
Officers from the Boulder Police Department are seen standing outside the grocery store on Monday
An emotional healthcare worker is seen standing outside the supermarket after being rushed to safety
Sarah Moonshadow told the Denver Post that two shots rang out just after she and her son, Nicolas Edwards, finished buying strawberries. She said she told her son to get down and then ‘we just ran’.
Once they got outside, she said they saw a body in the parking lot. Edwards said police were speeding into the lot and pulled up next to the body.
‘I knew we couldn’t do anything for the guy,’ he said. ‘We had to go.’
Dean Schiller told The Associated Press that he had just left the supermarket when he heard gunshots and saw three people lying face down, two in the parking lot and one near the doorway. He said he ‘couldn’t tell if they were breathing’.
Video posted on YouTube showed one person on the floor inside the store and two more outside on the ground. What sounds like two gunshots are also heard at the beginning of the video.
Law enforcement vehicles and officers massed outside the store, including SWAT teams, and at least three helicopters landed on the roof. Some windows at the front of the store were broken.
At one point, authorities said over a loudspeaker that the building was surrounded and that ‘you need to surrender’.
Tactical police units respond to the scene of King Soopers. The windows of the store were left broken, likely from gunfire
Police use firefighting equipment to enter a King Sooper’s grocery store where a gunman opened fire on Monday
Law enforcement officers sweep the area outside of the King Soopers grocery store
Police respond to the scene of a King Soopers grocery store after the shooting on Monday