Wheelchair-bound Boulder shooting suspect appears in court as defence claim he is mentally ill

Prosecutors will introduce new charges in the coming weeks

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 25 March 2021 15:22
Boulder Police Chief reads the names of the mass shooting victims

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, the suspected culprit of the King Sooper mass shooting in Boulder Colorado, made his first court appearance today, during which his defense team asked a judge to allow them a status hearing so they can determine the extent of their client’s mental illness. The judge granted the hearing.

“We cannot begin to asses the nature and depth of Mr. Alissa’s mental illness until we have the discovery from the government,” Kathryn Herold, one of Mr Alissa’s lawyers, said.

Prosecutors also indicated they planned to bring additional charges against Mr Alissa over the next two weeks. The status conference will be scheduled sometime in the next 30-90 days.

The prosecution opposed that time frame, asking for a conference within a month and a half, but were overruled by the judge.

Mr Alissa was arrested on Monday after allegedly killing 10 people at the grocery store and having a shootout with police.

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The suspected shooter was last seen shirtless and in handcuffs as he was led away from the supermarket by police. He had been shot through the leg, and was bleeding profusely from the wound. Since his release from the hospital, Mr Alissa has been held in the Boulder County Jail.

Mr Alissa was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair by police - likely due to the injury to his leg - and was wearing a blue hospital gown as well as a cloth face mask. He appeared cognizant of where he was and responded to the judge without hesitation when asked if he understood his charges.

He spoke only once during the hearing, saying “yes” when asked by the judge if he understood the charges against him.

The alleged shooter will have to remain in jail without bond until his status conference sometime in the next three months.

Following the shooting, police conducted a search of Mr Alissa’s home, where they found other weapons.

According to a police affidavit, just as officers arrived, they intercepted a woman leaving the house. The woman said she had recently married one of Mr Alissa’s relatives, and told detectives that she saw the suspected shooter playing with a “machine gun” inside the house two days prior.

The gun used in the attack, an AR-15-style pistol modified with an arm brace, was purchased six days before the attack.

Police have not yet identified a motive in the shooting.

“Regarding the suspect, at approximately 2:40 P.M. Monday, March 22, officers were dispatched to Kings Soopers. They arrived on the scene within minutes and immediately entered the store and engaged the suspect. There was an exchange of gunfire. The suspect was shot and a number of other officers were injured,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said.

The police chief said her department was working with state and federal authorities to continue the investigation.

“We’re committed with state, local, and federal authorities for a thorough investigation and we’ll bring justice to each of these families,” she said.

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