Syrian-Born Boulder Shooting Suspect Known To The FBI, Suffered From Paranoia, Mental Illness
A clearer picture is emerging, Wednesday, of the man who killed 10 people in a mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday, with authorities now saying the man was “known” to federal agents, and with acquaintances and family members telling law enforcement that he suffered from bouts of mental illness that included paranoia and outbursts of rage.
The 21-year-old alleged shooter, whose name has been withheld per Daily Wire policy, was taken alive after opening fire in a Boulder-area King Soopers grocery store and has already been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
The alleged shooter is believed to have planned the attack ahead of time and “bought an AR-15-style rifle on March 16,” according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Fox News. A woman who identified herself to authorities as the suspect’s sister-in-law reported that she tried to take the gun away just days before the shooting after she saw him “playing” with what she said looked like a “machine gun” and worried for the community’s safety.
Although authorities have yet to establish a motive for the shooting, the alleged gunman reportedly has a history of concerning run-ins with both family and friends and with law enforcement.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that he was “known” to the FBI “because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, according to law enforcement officials.”
Acquaintances of the alleged gunman also spoke to the media, describing him as having a “short fuse,” and relating incidents from high school and college where the alleged shooter threatened classmates, sometimes with physical harm.
“He got super mad and started throwing his headgear. He was saying, ‘I’m going to kill you guys’ and walked out,” one former wrestling teammate told The Washington Post about an incident involving the alleged gunman that followed a wrestling match.
“In November 2017, his senior year, the man accused of killing 10 people in a Boulder grocery store this week stood up in class and assaulted an unsuspecting student, pummeling him in the head and face for an alleged ethnic slur,” the outlet noted. “He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to probation and community service.”
The alleged gunman’s family told authorities that he suffered from mental illness and bouts of paranoia.
“Alissa’s family described him as ‘very anti-social,’” according to USA Today, adding that he was “paranoid and would say people were after him when he was a high school student.”
“We didn’t know what was going on in his head,” the shooter’s brother told the Daily Beast, suggesting that his brother may have opened fire on shoppers because he had been “bullied” in high school.
“[It was] not at all a political statement, it’s mental illness,” his brother told the outlet. “The guy used to get bullied a lot in high school, he was like an outgoing kid but after he went to high school and got bullied a lot, he started becoming anti-social.”
More information is expected to emerge on Wednesday, as authorities speak with the suspect for the first time.
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Author: Emily Zanotti