Kroger, grocery workers unions condemn ‘senseless violence’ that killed 3 employees

Grocery Store Tragedy

DENVER (KDVR) — King Soopers and the unions representing its employees agree on one thing: a senseless act of violence killed three of their employees in Boulder on Monday.

Twenty-year-old Denny Stong graduated from Fairview High School. His friends tell FOX31 he was an active member of the Boulder Aeromodeling Society, and was fond of flying model planes. 

Rikki Olds’ uncle Robert said, “she was a giver to others, and she gave herself to her career. She aspired to work up the ranks of King Soopers, and she strived to be the best manager she could be to her work family.” She was 25 years old.

Teri Leiker, 51, worked at King Soopers for 31 years. She was a part of the CU Boulder Best Buddies program.

Kroger, the parent company of King Soopers said in a statement, “The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to those impacted by this tragedy, including our associates, customers and first responders, and their families.”

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents 1.3 million food and retail workers, said it “condemns the senseless violence” and made a call-to-action for its members.

Local 7, which represents 32 grocery workers at the King Soopers store on Table Mesa also condemns senseless acts of violence.

“Today our community experienced a senseless act of violence that caused an unnecessary loss of life in Boulder’s vibrant community. It is with deep sadness we mourn the victims and their families who have lost loved ones today, including the heroic Boulder police officer who died in the line of duty. We are forever grateful to the grocery workers, customers, and the first responders who acted swiftly to prevent even greater loss of life–protecting our members and all those in danger inside the store. 

“This senseless act of evil also highlights and shines a light on the best of human nature. There are news reports that after gunshots rang out, grocery workers helped customers in the store find safety, directing shoppers to an exit at the back of the store, and assisted one another to escape the danger inside. 

“No one should have to fear for their lives while they grocery shop or go to work every day. Unfortunately, our grocery members, frontline Essential Workers, have lived in fear each and every day during the pandemic. These workers have risked getting COVID-19 to make sure shelves were stocked and communities had access to food and other essential services. As COVID-19 cases increased, and colleagues fell ill and some died, they continued to go to work, even as they faced COVID-19 workplace hazards, as well as hostile customers including verbal and physical attacks by unstable members of the public. 

“For the last year our members and other associates have fought an invisible enemy, COVID-19, but today several innocent souls were killed by an evil human. We call on government officials and employers to do more to protect our members and communities from the constant threat of violence.”

Waves of people have been leaving flowers and memorabilia around the grocery store since the tragedy. Donation funds and other ways to help the victims and their families have also been setup.

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