Teri Leiker, 51, is being remembered by friends as someone who was always smiling, chatty and happy to help.
"She was always helpful," says Maya Key, who shopped at King Sooper's in Boulder, Colo., almost every day.
Leiker, who had worked at King Sooper's for more than 30 years, was one of 10 people killed in Monday's mass shooting Monday afternoon. It was the second mass shooting in a public place in the United States in six days, following last Tuesday's attacks at three separate Asian spas in the Atlanta-area, during which eight people were killed.
"She was a fixture there," says Key, 49, who manages a non-profit and volunteers weekly as a grocery shopper for the elderly. "She was a really sweet, sweet person. It's just such a tragedy."
She remembers Leiker bagging groceries — until the pandemic when people began bagging their own groceries and Leiker was reassigned to restocking and straightening shelves. Still, the two always chatted, and Leiker always offered to help.
"If she saw you bagging, she would jump in to help you bag," she says. "When you're staring blankly at this wall of cereal, sometimes it's nice to have a second pair of eyes. She would just offer it. Even if she didn't know exactly where it was, the two of us would both be staring at the wall of cereal to try to find the particular brand somebody wanted. She was just very sweet."
According to the affidavit, the suspect, identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa, allegedly shot at people in cars in the store's parking lot before going into King Soopers and continuing to shoot people.
The suspect was taken into custody at the scene of the shooting. He has yet to enter pleas to the charges he faces, which include one count of criminal attempt for murder in the first-degree.
"Teri was the most selfless, innocent, amazing person I have had the honor of meeting," Lexi Knutson said in an Instagram tribute for her friend, whom she met through the CU Boulder Best Buddies, a program that pairs University of Colorado students with members of the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Key remembers Leiker regularly wearing CU Boulder gear and being a big fan of the school's football team. She was a regular at the Pearl Street pep rallies the marching band held before home games.
Matthew Dockendorf, 37, Director of the University of Colorado marching and, tells PEOPLE, "She was so energetic and always cheering and singing along with the band whenever we were doing anything."
He adds, "She was just a really kind soul."
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