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Colorado Department of Human Services says King Soopers shooting suspect is competent for trial

Here's the latest on King Soopers shooting suspect competent for trial
Here's the latest on King Soopers shooting suspect competent for trial 03:16

The Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect has been found competent to stand trial. The determination comes from the Colorado Department of Human Services about the current mental state of suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. 

It comes more than two years after Alissa was taken into custody at the scene of the mass shooting.

10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside the King Soopers on South Table Mesa Drive in March 2021. The shooter killed customers, workers and a police officer who tried to stop the attack. Alissa surrendered after another officer shot and wounded him, according to authorities. 

Shooting at Kings Soopers in Boulder, Colorado
Hundreds of flowers surrounding the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive on March 23, 2021, in Boulder. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The suspect lived in nearby Arvada, where authorities say he passed a background check to legally buy the Ruger AR-556 pistol six days before authorities say he used it in the shooting.

In a case filing by District Attorney Michael Dougherty, he writes, "It is because of 'consistent medication compliance' and the recent addition of a new drug that defendant is now competent." This comes after reports from the psychologists that Alissa is suffering from severe schizophrenia. 

Court filings indicate he had been at times uncooperative and one psychologist even indicated he was approaching catatonia, which can lead to a catatonic state ... but blaming severe schizophrenia.

Dougherty indicates in this week's filing that Ahmad Alissa may have to remain in Pueblo for as long as possible before trial to continue his treatment because the Boulder County Jail is not equipped or able to administer his care.

The finding of competency means a trial date could be set, but the defense has the right to ask for a restoration hearing, which would be a hearing to determine if the accused has been returned to competency as the state believes. 

The defense could get a second opinion. Alissa is being defended by attorneys with the public defender's office. They did not return a call Wednesday. 


A trial date has not been set, but Dougherty has filed a motion asking that the court make the judicial finding of competency and schedule a preliminary hearing. In a statement, his office said Dougherty stated, "Our office will continue fighting for justice in this case." 

Competency is a different legal issue than a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, which involves whether someone's mental health prevented them from understanding right from wrong when a crime was committed. The defense can still claim that in the trial as well.

Killed in the attack were Rikki Olds, Denny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Tralona Bartkowiak, Teri Leiker, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, Jody Waters and Eric Talley, who rushed into the store with an initial team of police officers and was shot trying to stop the violence. 

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