Before the Shooting – WSJ


There’s a contemporary political compulsion to immediately inject a horrific shooting into ongoing debates about types of weapons and the terms for acquiring them. But before legislating a response, lawmakers should spend some time trying to figure out why Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa allegedly murdered 10 people on Monday at a Boulder, Colo. supermarket.

CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Blake Ellis and Amir Vera report:

Alissa, whose family emigrated from Syria, may have been suffering from mental illness, according to his 34-year-old brother, Ali Aliwi Alissa.

The brother told CNN on Tuesday that in high school bullies made fun of Alissa’s name and for being Muslim and that may have contributed to him becoming “anti-social.”

Alissa had become increasingly “paranoid” around 2014, believing he was being followed and chased, according to his brother. At one point, the young man covered the camera on his computer with duct tape so he could not be seen, said the brother, who lives with Alissa…

“We kept a close eye on him when he was in high school. He would say, ‘Someone is chasing me, someone is investigating me.’ And we’re like, ‘Come on man. There’s nothing.’ … He was just closing into himself,” the brother added.

Shelly Bradbury, Conrad Swanson and John Meyer report in the Denver Post that Mr. Alissa was “violent, short-tempered and paranoid” according to his former classmates at Colorado’s Arvada West High School, from which he graduated in 2018. According to the Post account:

“He was kind of scary to be around,” said Dayton Marvel, a teammate on the wrestling team. Alissa once had an outburst and threatened to kill people during an intra-team match, Marvel said.

“His senior year, during the wrestle-offs to see who makes varsity, he actually lost his match and quit the team and yelled out in the wrestling room that he was like going to kill everybody,” Marvel said. “Nobody believed him. We were just all kind of freaked out by it, but nobody did anything about it.”…

“He would talk about him being Muslim and how if anybody tried anything, he would file a hate crime and say they were making it up,” Marvel said. “It was a crazy deal. I just know he was a pretty cool kid until something made him mad, and then whatever made him mad, he went over the edge — way too far.”

At least one event in high school led to a misdemeanor guilty plea for third-degree assault, but no jail time. Jesse Paul reports in the Colorado Sun:

Arrest documents from the encounter say Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa stood up in a classroom, walked over to the victim and “cold cocked” him in the head.

When the victim fell to the floor, Alissa got on top of him and punched him in the head several more times.

“No witnesses could see or hear any reason for (Alissa) to hit (the victim),” the documents say. “(Alissa) said (the victim) had made fun of him and called him racial names weeks earlier.”

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