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Colorado Shooting Victim Kevin Mahoney Was A Dad To The Entire Neighborhood


On a mountain overlooking Boulder, Colo., there is a giant star glowing. It's normally lit up in the winter for the holidays, but for the last two nights and for eight more, the Boulder Star is shining in honor of the 10 people killed in Monday's shooting at the King Soopers grocery store. One of them was 61-year-old Kevin Mahoney. His daughter, Erika Mahoney, is the news director at member station KAZU in Monterey Bay, Calif. She spoke with Noel King.

NOEL KING, BYLINE: Tell us about your dad.

ERIKA MAHONEY, BYLINE: If I could give him an award, it would be the best dad award because he was like a dad to the entire neighborhood here in my hometown of Boulder, Colo. He would play outside with us for hours in the summertime, like hide and seek all over the neighborhood. A lot of my friends have been texting me today and throughout this time saying that he was like a dad to them, too. He was just, like, the best dad ever.

KING: Have you learned, Erika, what your dad was doing at the supermarket on Monday night?

MAHONEY: He was going grocery shopping to step up for my mom. You know, during the pandemic, he was the one that would do a lot of the shopping. And King Soopers is five minutes from our home. That's where I've gone since I was 5 years old. And so he was, you know, supporting the family and getting groceries.

KING: What did your dad do for a living? How did he spend his time when he wasn't being a dad?

MAHONEY: (Laughter) He was in the hotel business. You know, at a certain point in life, he actually decided to retire early, and I'm just so happy that he did that now because he was able to do the things he really loved. He traveled a lot, and he went skiing a lot, and he visited me a lot, so I'm really thankful for - that he did decide to do that.

KING: You posted a picture on Twitter from your wedding last summer. It's a picture of your dad walking you down the aisle, and you're smiling up at him, and he has this expression like he's really happy but also like he might start crying.

MAHONEY: Yeah. I think that my dad always wanted to hold back his tears in big life moments for me, like when he took me to the airport for college. But, really, it's just his softness shining through in that moment. And I admire my dad so much, and that's why I picked that photo because I'm looking up at him. And I think one thing I want to share is that my husband and I, before the pandemic, had planned a really big wedding, like 115-person wedding at a local winery in California. And my dad wanted me to have this dream wedding and everything was in line for that dream wedding. And then when the pandemic hit, we obviously couldn't follow through with all those plans we had made. And so we thought about holding off for a year or so. Instead, we just got married in our backyard and decided to tie the knot with just family. And now I'm just so grateful because if we had waited, I don't know if he would have been here to walk me down the aisle.

KING: Erika, this is a tough one, but I understand that you're expecting a child, you're going to have a little girl.


KING: What are you going to tell your daughter about her grandfather?

MAHONEY: I think first I just want to say that one death trickles to so many people and to an entire community and beyond. And, you know, in this case, 10 lives were lost. And I think about my daughter and that my dad will never be able to hold her, but I know on some level he will be there, and he was so excited. And I'm going to tell her that he loves her so much.

KING: And when she's a little older and she sees a picture of you and him and she asks, what was my grandpa like, what will you tell her?

MAHONEY: I will tell her that he had the biggest heart, and he was funny, and he also had this funny quirk where if you said a word and it was, like, in a song, he would just burst out in songs. Like, if you said the word rain, he would be like singing, you know, "Singing In The Rain." And I don't know - I think I inherited that from him because I tend to do that around the house, too.

KING: Did your dad have a nice voice?

MAHONEY: It was, like, OK (laughter). I loved it.

KING: Erika Mahoney remembering her father, Kevin Mahoney. Erika, I know it's a really hard time, and I really want to thank you for taking the time for us. We appreciate it.

MAHONEY: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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