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Colorado grocery store shooting suspect found incompetent to stand trial

Police arrested the 21-year-old suspect following a March shooting spree that left 10 dead in a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store.

BOULDER, Colo. (CN) — Following the recommendation of four experts, a Colorado judge on Friday declared the man suspected of shooting and killing 10 people in a Colorado grocery store this past March incompetent to stand trial.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, of Arvada, will be transferred to the state mental hospital in Pueblo to undergo treatment. The court will reevaluate the case in March.

The victims, aged 20 to 65 years old, included three King Soopers employees, several shoppers and a police officer.

Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, 51, had been with the police department since 2010 and was father to seven kids. Authorities identified the other nine victims as Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

On March 22, prosecutors say Alissa opened fire on the King Soopers in the Table Mesa neighborhood of Boulder with a Ruger AR-556 assault-style weapon and a semiautomatic handgun. He wore a green tactical vest and jeans. Officers quickly arrived on the scene and apprehended him.

Prosecutors charged Alissa with 10 counts of first degree murder and more than 30 counts of attempted murder. If convicted, Alissa faces life in prison without parole since Colorado lawmakers repealed the death penalty in 2020.

With the issue of his mental competence raised by his defense, it is unclear when or if he will be found fit to stand trial. After six years Robert Dear, the suspected gunman who killed three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in 2015, has yet to receive the clean bill of mental health needed to stand trial.

After sitting dormant for nine months, the city of Boulder and King Soopers announced on Wednesday the store would reopen in January 2022, in time for the 50th anniversary of King Soopers Table Mesa.

“The store's reopening will be a welcome and important step forward as we continue to process and heal after the horrific events of March 22,” said Mayor Aaron Brockett in a statement. “We are deeply grateful for King Soopers’ partnership with the city and residents as they prepare to welcome people back to shop and gather.”

Thirty miles northwest of Denver, Boulder is home to 105,000 people.

Since 1993, 213 Coloradans have died in 13 highly publicized mass shootings. These incidents, however, represent a very small portion of the 14.2 per 100,000 people who die from gunshot wounds every year in the state.

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