Victims of Boulder Kings Soopers shooting say they’re frustrated after alleged shooter ruled incompetent

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Visitors at the makeshift memorial fence outside King Soopers supermarket on Table Mesa Drive, Monday, March 29, 2021.

The man accused of killing 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers last year remains incompetent to proceed in a criminal trial, but a judge said he will likely be restored in the near future.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 23, remains hospitalized at the state’s mental health hospital in Pueblo.

Prosecutors, defenders and Boulder’s chief judge have received more than 2,200 pages of records and details about the hospital’s work to restore him to competency. When that happens, Alissa can assist in his own defense and understand the more than 100 criminal charges he faces in connection to the shooting.

Alissa was admitted to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo last December after being assessed by four different doctors. Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the defendant has shown improvement in his hospitalization, at times, but it hasn’t been maintained.

“According to the doctors, there is a reasonable likelihood he will be restored to competency in the near future,” Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougerty said. “People want to see justice in this case. That will happen, that day will come.”

Roughly 10 family members of victims sat silently in the seats behind District Attorney Michael Dougherty, who told the judge they were frustrated with the state hospital.

Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke acknowledged their feelings.

“This is a very frustrating process,” Bakke said, addressing the families. “Bear with us.”

Celebration of Life Service for Rikki Lyn Olds
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post, Pool
BOULDER, COLORADO - APRIL 7: Robert Olds, uncle to Rikki Lyn Olds, talks about his niece during a Celebration of Life service for her at Boulder Valley Christian Church for a Celebration on April 7, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. Olds was one of ten victims killed by a mass shooter while she was working at King Soopers on March 22, 2021. She was born in Louisville, Colorado and graduated from Centaurus High School. She was hired by King Soopers in early 2016 and pursued her dream to become store manager in the five years she worked there. She was described as a person with a bubbly personality, an infectious laugh and a smile that lit up the room. She was 25. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Robert Olds’ niece, 25-year-old Rikki Olds, was killed working inside the King Soopers that day. He said he has tried to overcome his grief with copious counseling sessions. He attended Friday’s hearing with his mother, Rikki’s grandmother, Jeanette.

Olds said he attributes the delays in the hearings to the defense, who he thinks is telling the defendant not to cooperate. To protect himself emotionally ahead of the hearings, he said he has set his expectations low.

“I build up a wall every time because if I get my expectations and my hopes that this is finally going to start then I just get let down and the anger builds over and the frustration builds over,” he said. “If I had a chance to sit down with those doctors, I’d like to hear what their definition of foreseeable future is. It doesn’t match mine at all.”

Ten people, including Olds, were shot and killed at the south Boulder grocery store on March 22 last year. The victims were Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, Tralona Bartkowiak, Denny Stong, Kevin Mahoney, Jody Waters, Lynn Murray, Neven Stanisic, Teri Leiker and Suzanne Fountain.