Judge orders mental health evacuation for Colorado 'supermarket shooter' accused of killing 10 at food store to determine whether he is fit to stand trial

A Colorado judge has ordered a mental health evaluation for the man accused of killing 10 people at a Boulder supermarket in March, to determine whether he is competent to proceed with the case.

Judge Ingrid Seftar Bakke ordered that one or more state psychiatrists or psychologists conduct the evaluation of Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa within three weeks at the Boulder County jail, where Alissa has been detained since the March 22 shooting at a crowded King Soopers supermarket.

The evaluation is meant to determine whether Alissa, 22, is able to understand court proceedings and assist his lawyers in defending him.  

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket in March, is led into a courtroom for a hearing on Tuesday

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, accused of killing 10 people at a Colorado supermarket in March, is led into a courtroom for a hearing on Tuesday

Boulder police officers are seen securing the scene around King Soopers supermarket after the March 22 shooting. Ten people, including an officer, died in the attack

Boulder police officers are seen securing the scene around King Soopers supermarket after the March 22 shooting. Ten people, including an officer, died in the attack

Shoppers and staff from King Soopers are seen being evacuated on March 22

Shoppers and staff from King Soopers are seen being evacuated on March 22

A SWAT team member runs toward a King Soopers grocery store on March 22

A SWAT team member runs toward a King Soopers grocery store on March 22

Police teams are seen outside the Kings Soopers grocery store in Boulder on March 22

Police teams are seen outside the Kings Soopers grocery store in Boulder on March 22

His mental health is a separate legal issue than a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, which hinges on whether someone's mental health prevented them from knowing right from wrong when a crime was committed.

A finding either way on competency potentially could slow the case down, as it would require state doctors to try and make Alissa competent to stand trial before proceedings can continue. 

Based in part on an evaluation it arranged, the defense claims there is a 'reasonable belief' that Alissa suffers from an unspecified 'mental disability.' 

Further details about Alissa's mental health issues are not known, contained in a court filing sealed under state law. 

Alissa's brother Ali, 34, told CNN in March that he was bullied at school for his name and for being Muslim, and that he became 'anti social'.

'People chose not to mess with him because of his temper, people chose not to really talk to him because of all - how he acted and things like that,' he said.  

Alissa had become increasingly 'paranoid' around 2014, believing he was being followed and chased, according to his brother, who he lived with.  

'He always suspected someone was behind him, someone was chasing him,' Ali Alissa said.

'We kept a close eye on him when he was in high school. 

'He would say, 'Someone is chasing me, someone is investigating me.' And we're like, 'Come on man. There's nothing.'

'He was just closing into himself.' 

Public defender Daniel King told Bakke that the defense will use its right to ask for another evaluation if the state evaluation finds that Alissa is competent.

If Alissa is found incompetent, he could not go on trial unless he can be treated to make him well enough to at least be able to understand proceedings and help his lawyers.

Alissa listens during Tuesday's hearing in Boulder, Colorado. Judge Bakke has set a date for the next hearing of October 19

Alissa listens during Tuesday's hearing in Boulder, Colorado. Judge Bakke has set a date for the next hearing of October 19

Judge Ingrid Seftar Bakke is seen on Tuesday presiding over the court in Boulder

Judge Ingrid Seftar Bakke is seen on Tuesday presiding over the court in Boulder

Bakke set the next hearing for October 19 in hopes of moving ahead with reviewing the evidence against Alissa, the next step in the process and what was originally scheduled to happen on Tuesday before the defense raised concerns about Alissa's competency last week. 

However, she acknowledged the date could be used to discuss the findings of the competency examination instead.

'This case needs to move along,' she said, as about 20 shooting victims and victims' families listened in the courtroom, while others watched proceedings online.

Alissa responded 'Yeah,' and 'Yes,' as the judge advised him of his rights during the competency process. 

He wore an orange-and-white striped jail suit and a blue face mask, swiveling slightly in his chair and often looking down during the hearing.

Alissa is accused of killing nine shoppers and workers inside and outside the store and one of the first three police officers who entered.

Alissa has also been charged with attempted first-degree murder over allegedly firing at 26 other people, including 11 law enforcement officers. 

He is also accused of unlawfully possessing 10 high-capacity ammunition magazines, devices banned in Colorado after previous mass shootings.

Investigators have not released a possible motive for the attack.

A police vehicle driven by murdered officer Eric Talley, who was among 10 people killed by a gunman at the King Soopers grocery store, is parked outside the police station where people placed flowers and messages

A police vehicle driven by murdered officer Eric Talley, who was among 10 people killed by a gunman at the King Soopers grocery store, is parked outside the police station where people placed flowers and messages

Denver firefighters salute a motorcade escorting a hearse carrying the body of slain Boulder Police officer Eric Talley down Colfax Avenue after a funeral mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on March 29

Denver firefighters salute a motorcade escorting a hearse carrying the body of slain Boulder Police officer Eric Talley down Colfax Avenue after a funeral mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on March 29

A motorcade escorts a hearse carrying the body of Boulder Police officer Eric Talley on March 29

A motorcade escorts a hearse carrying the body of Boulder Police officer Eric Talley on March 29

District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the victims and their families were frustrated that the original evidentiary was delayed with short notice. 

He was glad that Bakke set a next hearing so soon but noted that he did not expect the complicated case to be resolved until about two years after the shooting.

'We'll just continue to work through each obstacle on this journey,' said Dougherty after the hearing, joined by two relatives of slain store manager Rikki Olds.

Dougherty urged people not to lose sight of the victims and others impacted by the shooting during the long process. 

He read the names of Olds and the nine other people killed: Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, Denny Strong, Teri Leiker, Neven Stanisic, Tralona Bartkowiak, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray and Jody Waters.

One local woman, Susan Gilmore, told AP she came to court to show the victims and their families that they are loved and not forgotten. 

She said she and her son Gil have been to some memorial services for those killed and also hold signs of support outside the Boulder Police Department, sympathizing with how they had to grieve their loss while also investigating the shooting.

As she drove in the busy morning traffic to get to court, she wondered if those who lost loved ones in the shooting might feel the rest of the world has moved on.

'I just hope that the community continues to lift them up,' she said.