Meena Harris deleted her tweet on Tuesday after police revealed 21-year-old gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who is accused of shooting dead 10 people a day earlier, is of Syrian descendant.
‘The Atlanta shooting was not even a week ago. Violent white men are the greatest terrorist threat to our country,’ the 36-year-old tweeted in the hours after the massacre.
Meena, who is a mother-of-two, lawyer and children’s book author, then revealed she had deleted that tweet.
Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena has deleted a tweet after facing backlash for assuming the Boulder grocery store gunman was white because he was taken into custody alive
‘I deleted a previous tweet about the suspect in the Boulder shooting,’ she said.
‘I made an assumption based on his being taken into custody alive and the fact that the majority of mass shootings in the US are carried out by white men.’
The suspect in last week’s shootings in Atlanta that left eight people dead was a white man.
Meena immediately faced backlash from some on Twitter.
Alissa was born in Syria and moved to the US when he was three. He now lives in Arvada, Colorado, around 30 miles from the grocery store he targeted.
He was taken into custody at 3.28pm and was transported to the hospital to be treated for a leg wound. He has since been released from the hospital and is now in Boulder County Jail.
Police have not yet confirmed his motive. He has been charged with ten counts of murder.
In Facebook posts over the last 18 months, he complained about not having a girlfriend, ranted about President Trump and talked about his Islamic faith.
Those killed include: Rikki Olds, 25, Teri Leiker, 51, Denny Stong, 20, Neven Stanisic, 23, Tralona Bartkowiak, 49, Suzanne Fountain, 59, Kevin Mahoney, 61, Lynn Murray, 62, and Jody Waters, 65.
Ahmad Alissa, 21, shown in his booking photo on Tuesday after he was charged with ten counts of murder
Boulder Police officer Eric Talley, 51, was also among those killed after he responded to the shooting.
The Vice President earlier on Tuesday called the mass shooting ‘tragic’ and ‘absolutely baffling’.
‘It’s tragic. Absolutely tragic,’ Harris told reporters in her ceremonial office after she swore in William Burns as CIA director.
‘It’s absolutely baffling, it’s 10 people going about their day living their lives, not bothering anybody. A police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism.’
Her was criticized last month after it emerged she was still using her aunt’s name to sell her range of feminist sweatshirts – despite being ordered not to by the White House.
Her Phenomenal line was still listed on non-profit retail website Social Goods next to a quote from Harris.
A $59 ‘Ambitious’ sweatshirt appeared next to a line from the Vice-President that reads: ‘There will be a resistance to your ambition, there will be people who say to you, ‘you are out of your lane.’
Alissa is shown being led out of the supermarket in handcuffs. He was fully clothed and wearing a green tactical vest inside the store but he stripped down to be arrested
White House lawyers have reportedly told Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena, to stop using her aunt’s status to build her brand
Meena was ordered to stop promoting her products using Harris’ name after the November 3 election.
At that point, she had already launched a range of gear featuring the ‘I’m speaking!’ quote that was used by Harris to check former Vice President Mike Pence during their debate.
But the mom-of-two has continued to cash in since then – launching a collection of ‘MVP’ [Madam Vice President] sweatshirts and collaborating with Beats by Dre on a set of limited-edition headphones featuring a quote from Harris’ acceptance speech.
While she removed the MVP line from her Phenomenal Clothing website, she continued to push her products on Social Goods using her aunt’s name.
At the time, a White House official scolded her, telling the Los Angeles Times: ‘Some things can’t be undone. That being said: Behavior needs to change.’
Meena was also among those praising last month’s decision to cancel certain Dr Seuss books.