As the King Soopers shooting occurred, the world came to a halt for many. Checking in on loved ones and pleading for the tragedy to end, the Boulder community stood still. Eaglecrest Alumni attending the University of Colorado Boulder were unsettled by the event.
“I was in my dorm; I live in Arnett Hall. We weren’t actually notified about the shooting until like 3:45 by the CU Alert system. When I first read the message, I was so desensitized by the mass shootings that I didn't even think twice about it,” Samia Bouchagour said. “Then, we talked about it in a class I had at 4:10, and I realized things were getting serious.”
At the height of a horrific event, everyone affected remembers where they were. They remember the fear of all the unknowns and the sadness of knowns.
The memorial forms around the King Soopers where tragedy struck (Photo Credit- Simone Beauchamp).
“I was out getting food when I heard about it. I sat in the parking lot pretty much the rest of the afternoon checking on my family and friends to make sure everyone was okay,” Paige Pentecost said. “It’s a really heartbreaking thing to happen in any community, but it’s so strange and sad to call friends and family to ask if they went grocery shopping.”
Unfortunately, this is not a new reality. Too many people have experienced an event similar to the Boulder King Soopers; everyone has had to witness it on the news.
“I was in the gym at the time watching it on TV live on CNN and was very shocked that this was even happening yet again,” Rishab Sodhi said. “Then I realized how serious it was getting- where the SWAT team was called. It’s awful to think that this is being normalized, that's what I was thinking about.”
Working out, in a dorm room or even getting food: former Raptors new to the Boulder community found themselves amidst a tragedy. Similar to Pentecost, Bouchagour used her frozen moment to find a friend.
“I tried to find my roommate who wasn’t answering her phone, and, ultimately, I was just so scared and shaken up,” Bouchagour said. “By like 5 P.M, I got a hold of my roommate, and we were told to stay in our dorms and away from the area until they figured out what was happening.”
#BoulderStrong. The community gathering at the memorial for the victims of the shooting (Photo Credit- Simone Beauchamp).
Away from the homes that raised them, the college students found themselves in a new community. “I’ve realized that our community is a lot stronger than we think- it’s not just CU students. It’s families and all of our neighbors in Boulder as well. I've realized how connected we all are in Boulder and how tragedies such as this unite us regardless of our differences,” Sodhi said. “We unite for the greater good and let each other know that we are there for one another. There’s a lot of love in the community that I wasn’t aware of at first.”
Even in a community as tight as Boulder, terrible events can still happen. The recent shooting has shown Abhignya Kuppa just that. “I’ve always seen Boulder, especially Table Mesa, as a safe place,” she said. “I guess this event has shown me that we aren’t truly safe no matter where we are.”
Many solutions have been brought into question, but one thing remains certain. “Something like this shouldn’t be happening as much as it does. I definitely think that both gun control and mental health awareness will play a big part in helping stop these tragedies,” Pentecost said.
Incidents like these have become common, but these bright-eyed students never expected to experience something like this so close to their newfound home. Hopefully soon being killed while grocery shopping won’t be a common occurrence.