Denny Stong, 20, was a model and airplane building enthusiast who loved motorcycles and was preparing for his first major Civil War reenactment, according to interviews with friends and Stong’s social media accounts.
The 20-year-old Boulder resident was the youngest of 10 people shot and killed in a King Soopers on Monday.
Stong’s Facebook page identified him as working at King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive, where he started on Dec. 25, 2018, according to a post. On March 22, 2020, he posted: ‘I can’t stay home, I’m a grocery store employee’ – a note shared in solidarity with other frontline retail and service workers at the start of the pandemic.
“Our friend Denny Stong’s life was stolen in the shooting at Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado,” James Noland wrote on a GoFundMe page for Stong’s family. Noland grew up with Stong in Boulder and attended elementary and high school with him.
“He was a caring soul with a funny sense of humor and unique interests. Just ten days ago we were all hanging out at Bianca’s, talking and laughing together,” Noland wrote. something I expected.”
Noland also identified Stong as an employee of King Soopers, although he was not working that day, merely shopping, according to his friend Dean Schiller.
“I feel angry on top of sadness,” Noland wrote. “Some people make decisions that lead to their death, which makes it easier for me to deal with them. He did nothing wrong and didn’t deserve it in any way.
Stong’s social media included images of model airplanes and drones, dirt bike encounters, LBGTQ solidarity photos, guns and silly faces. His most recent photo showed him with a mop of unruly orange hair and a calm smile. Stong was a music fan, having attended the July 6, 2019 Dead & Company show in Boulder, according to videos and photos on his Instagram account.
Stong graduated from Fairview High School in 2019, Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Rob Anderson said. He bought a motorbike with the money he saved working at King Soopers, said Lisa Siciliano, who had photographed Stong in the past and whose child went to school with him. She also said Stong was training to be a pilot.
In 2018, Stong began spending a lot of time with the Boulder Aeromodeling Society, of which he was a member until December 2020, president Aidan Sesnic said. Stong’s Instagram shows him and club members flying their planes at an airfield specifically sanctioned for model airplanes west of Boulder Reservoir, where Stong’s father, Nick, often joined him, the members said.
“Speaking both personally and on behalf of the club, my deepest condolences go out to the victims of yesterday’s reprehensible and horrific attack,” Sesnic said. “The club and I mourn this tragic loss, 10 lives taken far too soon.”
Stong, who enjoyed hunting, was preparing to participate in his first full-scale Civil War reenactment as part of Ford’s Independent Company, 2nd Colorado Volunteers, according to President Rob Barnes, who screened and admitted Stong last fall . He never got to meet Stong in person.
“He was an old soul,” Barnes said of his phone and text conversations with Stong. “He had a great love for history, his country and a very passionate love of firearms. And I mean, (he was) a very responsible young man. You don’t meet many young people like him.
Stong’s friends agreed. Bianca Porter, who met him four years ago as a new student at Fairview, said Stong was the only classmate who spoke to her at first.
“He liked a lot of things that nobody else was interested in, and that’s what got people’s attention,” Porter, 19, said. “I know that when everything went wrong, he did his best to help.”
Another classmate, 18-year-old Nicholas Novak, agreed. He called Stong “one of the most generous people I have ever met”.
“He never hurt anyone and never drove anyone crazy,” Novak said. “He always did his best in everything he did.”