For Teri Leiker, 51, the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, was long a happy place. She worked there for some 30 years and was even dating a colleague, according to friend Lexi Knutson.
“She loved going to work and enjoyed everything about being there,” Knutson told the Reuters news agency. “Her boyfriend and her had been good friends and began dating in the fall of 2019. He was working yesterday too. He is alive.”
Leiker was among the 10 people shot at the store on Monday whom authorities identified on Tuesday.
Knutson said she met Leiker in 2017 through a University of Colorado programme that says it aims to foster friendships between students and “members of the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities”. The University of Colorado’s flagship campus is near the store.
Knuston said she thought Leiker’s job had come through a special needs work programme.
The 10 victims ranged in age from 20 to 65 and included Eric Talley, 51, an 11-year veteran of the Boulder police force. The father of seven had recently been looking for a less dangerous job, according to a statement released by his father.
At least two other victims appeared to have worked at the store.
One of them was Rikki Olds, 25, whose Facebook page was full of pictures of rivers, mountains and waterfalls, as well as selfies with her boyfriend, Jordan Arthur.
“Rikki baby, you were taken too soon. I miss you dearly,” Arthur wrote on Facebook above a selfie of the two of them, grinning in front of a rocky hill.
“Thank you everyone for all your prayers but the Lord got a beautiful young angel yesterday at the hands of a deranged monster,” Lori Olds, Rikki’s Aunt, wrote in a public post on her Facebook page Tuesday morning, the Denver Post reported.
Denny Stong, 20, was the youngest victim.
— Tom (@tommay911) March 23, 2021
On his Facebook page, he said he was a fan of planes, bikes and motorcycles. In a nod to coronavirus-induced lockdowns, he’d framed his profile picture with the words “I can’t stay home, I am a Grocery Store Worker.”
Earlier this month, for his birthday, he’d asked friends to contribute to the National Foundation for Gun Rights, whose website says it works “to expand pro-gun precedents and defend gun owners”.
“I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me,” Stong wrote.