A gunman opened fire inside a King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday afternoon, killing 10 people, including a police officer who was first to respond to reports of shots being fired at the grocery store.
The shooter, who carried out the attack using an AR-15 assault rifle, has now been identified as Ahmad Al Issa, 21, of Arvada, Colorado. Video footage from the scene showed Al-Issa in handcuffs, being escorted out of the building by police officers. He has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first-degree in connection with Monday's massacre.
'Colorado Shooter Had ISIS Sympathies'
Shortly after the shooter's identity was released to the public, a rumor started circulating on social media that Al Issa "had ISIS sympathies."
The speculation was triggered by a tweet posted by pro-Trump activist Jack Posobiec, who cited a White House official in his claim that Al Issa had sympathies to the Islamic caliphate pursued by ISIS.
The day after the shooting, president Joe Biden delivered his remarks on the deadly shooting. In his address, he said that he had been briefed by the U.S. attorney general and the director of the FBI. However, he provided no specifics, nor did he make any mention of ISIS or link the massacre to terrorism.
Laura Loomer Says Al Issa Swore Allegiance to ISIS Before Attack
Right-wing website National File also published a report claiming Al Issa swore allegiance to ISIS prior to the shooting, according to Syrian migration expert and former congressional candidate Laura Loomer.
Citing a source in Boulder law enforcement, Loomer explained that the Biden administration was briefed about the shooter's allegiance to ISIS and is trying to contain the information to avoid criticism over an immigration scandal and blowback over his decision to rescind former President Donald Trump's travel ban targeting Muslim countries.
There is no evidence to support the claim that Al Issa had links or sympathies with the notorious terrorist organization. However, here are some of the things we do know about the suspect.
Al Issa was Known to the FBI Before Boulder Shooting
Al Issa, who emigrated from Syria in 2002, was known to the FBI before Monday's massacre because he was linked to another individual under investigation by the bureau, the New York Times reported, citing law enforcement officials.
He Sympathized with Muslim Victims of Christchurch Shooting on FB
In posts on his now-deleted Facebook profile, he made references to Islam and Allah, expressed solidarity with the victims of the mosque shooting in Christchurch, and denounced "racist Islamophobic people," as previously reported.
"The Muslims at the Christchurch mosque were not the victims of a single shooter. They were the victims of the entire Islamophobia industry that vilified them," he wrote in one of the posts. In March 2019, a white supremacist, shot and killed 51 people in an attack carried out at two separate mosques where the Muslim victims were attending Friday prayers.
His Classmates Made Fun of His Muslim Faith, Called Him ISIS
Alissa was sentenced to one year probation and 48 hours of community service after being found guilty of third-degree assault in 2018 for an incident that occurred the previous November, according to CNN. The case stemmed from a incident in which a then-18-year-old Al Issa was accused of attacking a classmate at Arvada West High School after the victim "made fun of him & called him racial names weeks earlier."
According to his friend, Damien Cruz, Al Issa often talked about the ill-treatment of Muslims. "He talked about how Muslims were all treated horribly," Cruz told CBS Denver. "They weren't treated equally as everybody else. Just because how their names were spelled, they were putting a frame on him that he was ISIS. Just because of how his name is spelled and where he's from that's not right. And I could see where he was coming from, but I just don't know why he would choose this way to get his point across," Cruz told CNN.