Colorado mass shooting

Colorado Supermarket Shooting Suspect Incompetent for Trial

District Attorney Michael Dougherty said four doctors have now determined that the suspect isn't mentally competent to participate in court proceedings

BOULDER, CO - MARCH 25: Flowers line a fence at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the shooting at a King Soopers grocery store on March 25, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. The Monday shooting left 10 people dead, including one police officer.
Chet Strange/Getty Images

A judge ruled Friday that a man charged with killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket earlier this year is mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to be treated at the state mental hospital to see if he can be made well enough to face prosecution.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, is accused of opening fire at a busy King Soopers in the college town of Boulder in March — killing a police officer, shoppers and several store employees.

District Attorney Michael Dougherty said four doctors have now determined that the suspect isn't mentally competent to participate in court proceedings. He requested that the suspect be sent to the state mental hospital for treatment.

Dougherty did not disclose why the experts determined that he is not competent. his defense attorney, Kathryn Herold, said Friday her client has a “serious” mental illness but did not provide more details.

Judge Ingrid Bakke ruled after Dougherty revealed the result of the examination that he was incompetent and ordered him to be sent to the mental hospital.

The ruling halts virtually all proceedings in the case indefinitely. Bakke scheduled another hearing for March 15, 2022, nearly a year after the shooting, to discuss whether any progress has been made treating the suspect and to decide what should happen next.

An earlier evaluation found he was not mentally competent, but prosecutors asked for a second evaluation to be conducted.

Bakke ordered the first evaluation after the suspect’s attorneys questioned his competence based on an evaluation by their own expert.

Competency issues have also delayed the prosecution of a man accused of killing three people in a 2015 attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Robert Dear was repeatedly found incompetent to proceed in his state case. Federal prosecutors then charged him in 2019, but the competency issue has continued to delay the case in federal court.

One of the victims was a police officer. Police responded to a shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday. The suspect, a 21-year-old male, is in custody.

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This story has been updated to correct the first name of the defendant to Ahmad and to remove a reference to an Olympic distance runner being killed in the shooting. The runner worked in the store but eventually escaped.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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