Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harrris, declared that “violent white men” are the “greatest terrorist threat” to the United States following the deadly grocery store shooting in Boulder, Colorado, later setting off a firestorm on social media by erroneously assuming the suspect, a Syrian immigrant, was white.
“The Atlanta shooting was not even a week ago. Violent white men are the greatest terrorist threat to our country,” Harris, a New York Times best-selling author, wrote in a now-deleted tweet Monday.
Earlier Monday, suspected gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa, 21, allegedly opened fire inside a King Soopers store, shooting dead 10 people, including active-duty police officer Eric Talley, 51, before he was taken into custody by responding officers. Al Aliwi Al-Issa, a resident of Denver who reportedly moved to the U.S. from Syria at age three, was shot in the leg during the rampage and has received medical treatment for his wounds at a hospital. He was charged with 10 counts of murder earlier Tuesday.
Harris conceded that she removed her tweeted Tuesday because she falsely identified the suspected killer as white, claiming her assumption was predicated on “being taken into custody alive and the fact that the majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are carried out by white men.”
I deleted a previous tweet about the suspect in the Boulder shooting. I made an assumption based on his being taken into custody alive and the fact that the majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are carried out by white men.
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) March 23, 2021
Harris was repeatedly criticized for blaming the shooting on a white male before the facts were known.
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) March 23, 2021
Investigators have not established a motive, but authorities believe Al-Issa was the only shooter, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.
A law enforcement official briefed on the shooting told The Associated Press that the gunman used an AR-15 rifle, a lightweight semi-automatic rifle. Officials were trying to trace the weapon. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.