Accused Boulder King Soopers shooter found mentally competent for trial

Supermarket Shooting Gun Measures
David Zalubowski/AP
Mourners walk along the temporary fence put up around the parking lot of a King Soopers grocery store where a mass shooting took place earlier in the week, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. The Board of Commissioners of Boulder County, Colo., gave initial approval on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, to new county-wide gun control ordinances that would exceed both state and federal regulations. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

After 20 months of hospitalization, doctors say the man accused of killing 10 people at a Boulder King Soopers in 2021 is mentally competent to proceed to trial.

That means 24-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who has been forcibly medicated at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, has made enough progress to be found able to assist in his own defense should he face a trial for the mass shooting at the grocery store.

Alissa’s competency finding has nothing to do with the condition he was allegedly in the day of the March 2021 shooting — only that he understands the justice system enough to be able to help his defense attorneys during the trial.

In court documents, his attorneys have said he has shown signs of schizophrenia. Prosecutors wanted further neuropsychologist evaluations to see whether he could be faking those symptoms.

“I feel like it’s a step in the right direction,” said Ellen Mahoney, the wife of 61-year-old Kevin Mahoney, who was gunned down in the parking lot after getting his groceries in the trunk of his car. “I was pleased to hear this news … It’s good to know things are moving forward so that justice may be served.”

Alissa has a status hearing next week at the Boulder County Courthouse. His public defenders did not have an immediate comment on his competency on Wednesday.

In court documents and regular hearings throughout the last year and a half, Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty has been frustrated with how slow the updates about his defendant’s condition were coming out of the state’s mental health hospital in Pueblo. 

Earlier this year, Dougherty and his team had called for a competency restoration hearing to be held next week and a judge agreed, but they had to scuttle that hearing last week because neither Dougherty nor defense attorneys had medical reports in a timely enough way to prepare for it.

“Our office will continue fighting for justice in this case,” Dougherty said, in a written statement. He said he’ll have more to say next week.

Alissa remains hospitalized in Pueblo.

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