BOULDER, Colo. — The Table Mesa King Soopers was closed on Tuesday, one year after a gunman took the lives of 10 people there.
There was no memorial set up outside of the store, but many people stopped by to pay tribute to the victims, including survivors who knew people shot and killed that day.
There were signs put up and flowers laid on the grass. One man who knew Denny Stong hung cardboard airplanes from trees in his honor. Stong, 20, was passionate about airplanes and was working toward getting his pilot's license.
Logan Smith was close friends with Stong and Rikki Olds, who was also killed in the shooting.
Smith was working at the Starbucks inside the day it happened.
"I spent the 10 minutes either with Rikki or Denny," Smith said. "Me and Rikki got off of break at the same time. I went downstairs, dropped her off at the self checkout and then went to Starbucks to relieve my coworker, and then here comes Denny. I'm making him his favorite four-shot caramel macchiato, and then the next thing I know, as I’m handing it off to him, the first shots outside."
As a survivor, he's used the past year to carry the memories he and his friends have together. Smith has also worked through his own questions of how he was able to survive the attack when his close friends did not.
"Knowing that, it makes me question, 'how did they get killed but I didn’t?' Because of the timing, and it’s just crazy to think," Smith said.
When he went to sleep on Monday, he thought returning to the store would be easier. Instead, he found it difficult. He planned to go to a plate smashing event afterward.
"I came out here to pretty much reflect on the last year. Not necessarily dwell on it, but to look back on where I came from and everything that has changed," Smith said. "I feel like it’s a weight off my shoulders. Waking up today, driving down here, driving down to the store, I was thinking to myself how would it affect me? But I needed to do it for myself and to lift the rocks, the weight off my shoulder. I am happy I did it."
Kelly Austin Davis is also a survivor. She lives nearby and decided to pause when she took her dog out for a walk near the King Soopers.
"I feel like because I also live so close, I have had almost every day to reflect on it. I think something about a year later, it hits a little differently, I think," Austin Davis said.
She said each day is a step forward in a positive direction, but finding a new sense of normal is still difficult.
"Grief and trauma have a tricky way of resurfacing. So I think [the store] being closed today is both reassuring and honoring of those we lost, but at the same time, it’s triggering and it makes you think about that day," Austin Davis said.
The Table Mesa store is the only one that was closed Tuesday. Other stores had a moment of silence at 2:30 p.m. to honor the victims.
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