Alleged Boulder King Soopers gunman found incompetent to stand trial

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Flowers, signs and mementos hang along a fence outside a King Supers grocery store in Boulder on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. At least 10 people, including a Boulder Police officer, were killed there Monday in a shooting.

The man accused of shooting and killing 10 people at the Boulder King Soopers in March was found incompetent to stand trial and has been sentenced to the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo for treatment.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, faces more than 100 criminal charges in connection to the March 22, 2021, mass shooting. Nine people and one police officer were gunned down and killed. 

Prosecutors said Alissa has mentally deteriorated while being held at the Boulder County Jail awaiting his criminal proceedings. 

Four different doctors have participated in two evaluations of Alissa at this point — doctors approved by both public defenders and district attorneys — and all came to the same conclusion. 

When a defendant is deemed incompetent to stand trial it means the person cannot understand the criminal proceedings and cannot assist in their own defense.

State Judge Ingrid Bakke on Friday ordered that Alissa be transferred within a week to the state’s largest mental health hospital. 

Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said he was optimistic that with medication and treatment, Alissa could eventually face the criminal charges filed against him.

“This is something we have to work through, have him restored as quickly as possible so we can then move forward with the case and to make sure he’s held fully responsible,” Dougherty said. “Which is our promise and our commitment to the victims in the community that we’re going to continue to fight for this result.”

In the vast majority of incompetence cases in the criminal justice system, defendants are eventually “restored” through classes and medication to be able to understand the charges against them and help in their own defense. 

Mental health competency restoration can happen in a few places across Colorado — including the Boulder and Arapahoe County jails and the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo. 

Dougherty declined to elaborate on the nature of Alissa’s mental illness.

“We are confident with medication and treatment, that he’ll be returned to Boulder County and we’ll be able to proceed forward in this case,” he said.

Bakke has ordered monthly reports on Alissa’s mental health for the prosecutors and his public defenders. Another status hearing is scheduled for March 2022. 

Dougherty said he has kept the many victims’ families up to date on what’s happening.

“It’s an honor to fight for justice for the victims and we’re absolutely committed to doing everything we can to make sure the right result happens in this case,” he said. “And it will.”

CPR's Matt Bloom contributed to this story.