Boulder Shooting Suspect Bought His AR-15-Style ‘Pistol’ Legally

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The Boulder shooting suspect passed a background check and purchased his gun legally before he allegedly walked into a King Scoopers grocery store in the city and killed 10 people earlier this week. 

The owner of the Eagles Nest Armory, where the alleged 21-year-old gunman bought his weapon six days before the incident, said that he passed a background check and purchased a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic pistol in compliance with Colorado law, according to a statement provided to local outlet 9News.

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“Ensuring every sale that occurs at our shop is lawful, has always been and will always remain the highest priority for our business,” John Mark Eagleton, the gun shop’s owner, said in the statement.

While VICE News was unable to confirm the contents of the page, the Facebook account of the gun store has been removed as of Friday. 

The gun, which is often used in law enforcement and tactical situations, is technically classified under gun laws as a pistol because of its short barrel but its features—including its ammo— resemble an AR-15-style assault rifle. Experts are worried that allows its buyers to get around gun control. 

The gun law that would have banned this type of weapon was also overturned days before the alleged gunman made the purchase.

During a press conference Friday, Boulder District Attorney Micheal Dougherty said that investigations are underway surrounding the background of the suspect. Law enforcement still hasn’t identified a motive. 

“The FBI, CBI, and all of the law agencies involved are doing a deep dive into the defender’s background, as well as the background of everyone involved in this incident,” Dougherty said during the conference. “We will continue to look into it and any connection we can find.”

The suspected shooter appeared in court for the first time on Thursday, during which his public defender, Kathryn Herold, asked for additional time to conduct a mental health evaluation of her client. Friends and family have described his behavior as erratic and paranoid, and he was previously arrested for “cold cocking” a former classmate in 2017. 

The alleged gunman has been charged with 10 counts of third-degree murder.

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