BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The man accused of murdering 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder Monday was a soft-spoken high school student who could be friendly, but could also snap into a fit of rage, according to his high school classmates and wrestling teammates.
Ahmad Alissa is now facing 10 murder charges. He will soon face many attempted murder charges, prosecutors announced Friday.
“It’s very shocking. It’s sad,” said Grant Cuneo, who was on the Arvada West High School wrestling team with Alissa.
The school is about 18 miles from the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder, where the shooting happened. It’s where cameras captured police escorting a handcuffed and bloodied Alissa to an ambulance after he’d been shot.
“He was a shy, soft-spoken kid,” Cuneo, who’s a year younger than Alissa, said. “(He’s a) pretty good wrestler. Could hold his own on the mat. Typically friendly. If you kept it cool around him, he’d be cool.”
Cuneo practiced with Alissa for a few years and traveled across Colorado to wrestling tournaments with him. This is where Cuneo, along with other wrestlers, said they sometimes saw another side of Alissa.
“He could snap from being that easy-going person to being a very angry aggressive person in the blink of an eye,” Cuneo said. “His other side would come on very quickly and he would snap and he would go into a rage. In the wrestling room, you’d see him throwing head gear, throwing shoes, throwing water bottles, smacking the mat.
“The worst I saw it get…one time he (Alissa) lost a wrestle-off match in the wrestling room. He threatened to kill coaches and another wrestler, because he was so angry,” Cuneo said.
Other wrestlers independently recalled Alissa making the threat and throwing his gear.
They said Alissa was suspended from the team for a short time, but returned. They also said he would calm down after the fits of rage.
Some of Alissa’s former classmates said he was bullied for his Syrian background.
Alissa told Arvada Police that bullying was the reason he cold-cocked another student in math class in November of 2017. The student, who was cut and bruised, told police he never teased or bullied Alissa because of his heritage.
Cuneo said he never personally witnessed anyone bullying Alissa.
Now Cuneo and his former teammates are trying to process the mass shooting and the charges Alissa is facing. They all said they never saw the alleged violence coming and are deeply disturbed by it.
“I hope he (Alissa) gets what he deserves, if they prove him guilty,” Cuneo said.