According to some recently published reports and interviews, after a deranged gunman randomly shot and killed ten people earlier this week at a Colorado supermarket, grocery store workers and customers at some New Jersey supermarkets have expressed concerns regarding their safety. On Tuesday, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi from Arvada, Colo, entered the Kings Soopers supermarket, owned by The Kroger Co.–the largest supermarket chain in the country—and gunned down ten people, including several employees and a police officer responding to the emergency call. The mass shooting is the second such mass shooting spree in less than a week—following the murder of eight people at massage parlors in the Atlanta area.
In New Jersey, while threats of violence and shootings are rare, they do occur. The last shooting spree to leave multiple people dead occurred in December 2019 in Jersey City. A man and woman who identified themselves as Black Hebrew Israelites shot and killed a police officer before making their way to a kosher market and killing murdering three people inside. New Jersey attorney general Grubir Grewal later described the act as an act of domestic terrorism.
“What happened in Colorado earlier this week was a tragedy and horrible,” said Anthony Sanfilippo, store director at McCaffrey’s Market in Princeton. The upscale supermarket chain is based in Pennsylvania but has two locations in New Jersey. “A few of the victims had been long time employees and frequent shoppers at the store.” Sanfilippo said the busy and popular Princeton Shopping Center–that houses the store received a bomb threat earlier this month. The entire shopping center had to be evacuated for more than 3 hours as police brought in bomb-sniffing dogs to investigate the complex. A bomb or explosive device was not found.
Lastly, in a statement to the media, Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Industry Association—a Virginia-based organization that advocates for a healthier, diverse, and more efficient food supply chain, said the entire grocery industry “feels a terrible sadness” following the events in Boulder. “Our food industry is strong. And we’ll help each other get through this, and we’ll help each other find peace as a result of this.” The shooter is charged with ten counts of murder and faces life in prison if convicted.