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.
Police arrived at the scene after receiving reports of an active shooter at the grocery store just before 3 p.m.as customers and employees ran for cover after hearing a series of loud bangs. According to law enforcement officials, the suspect carried out the attack with an AR-15 assault rifle and is now in n custody.
Video footage from the scene showed a man in handcuffs, bleeding down his leg, being escorted out of the building by police officers. Officials have not yet confirmed whether he was the suspect but stated that the suspect was being treated for injuries.
While the suspect's identity has not yet been released, social media users are speculating that a man named Thomas Elliot Hayner is the Boulder shooter. Users pointed out that not only did the suspect bore a striking resemblance to Hayner but his address was also listed as Wheat Ridge, which is only about 20 miles away from where the shooting took place on Monday.
Who is Thomas Elliot Hayner?
Hayner is a 32-year-old man who arrested in 2015 for allegedly posting threats to kill Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey on the Facebook pages of news outlets in the Colorado region, as reported by The Denver Channel. Hayner was accused of "harassing various public officials and city agencies, including making serious threats, over the last several months."
According to the news outlet, "the threats began after Hayner got into a dispute with Denver police and allegedly made a barrage of harassing telephone calls to the Police Department's District 1 Station in northwest Denver. He was charged in January with 75 counts of misdemeanor harassment involving threatening or obscene phone calls, according to court records."
Hayner was arrested for failing to appear in court in the harassment case but was eventually released on a bond of $100,000. He later became a fugitive on the run and shifted his focus to Morrissey. "I want to kill Mitch Morrissey" on Denver7's Facebook page, before telling people to report him using a screenshot of the threat and adding "this is what a real threat looks like."
Hayner posted another threat on the Denver7 Facebook page under a story about a police officer who slipped on ice and accidentally fired his gun, critically injuring a car-theft suspect the officer was chasing. "I'm going to accidentally shoot Mitch Morrissey," he wrote.
While social media users are trying to establish a link between Hayner and the Boulder shooter, there is no evidence to support the claim, other than facts that they appear similar in appearance and that Hayner's address is listed only 20 miles away from the location of the shooting.