The man accused of gunning down 10 people in a Colorado supermarket was ordered held without bail Thursday pending an assessment “to address his mental illness.”
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, wearing a mask and jail scrubs and sitting in a wheelchair, appeared in court for the first time since the rampage Monday at the King Soopers market in Boulder. A judge approved defense lawyer Kathryn Herold’s request that the next hearing be delayed for at least two months to allow for the assessment.
Alissa, 21, didn’t speak other than to say “yes” when asked by the judge if he understood the charges against him. Alissa faces 10 counts of first-degree murder, and a prosecutor said more charges are planned.
Alissa could face a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole if convicted. Colorado abolished the death penalty a year ago.
Alissa, a resident of the Denver suburb of Arvada, on Monday afternoon went to Boulder – about 20 miles away – with two guns, according to an arrest affidavit. He had bought a semiautomatic firearm less than a week before the shootings, authorities say.
Witnesses say the shooter opened fire outside, hitting at least one person, before entering the store. Chaos ensued as customers and employees raced for cover amid the barrage of bullets.
Family said Alissa has ‘mental illness’: Experts say that’s rarely the cause of mass shootings
Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, the first police officer to respond to the frantic 911 calls, was fatally shot. Alissa was shot in the leg and taken from the scene via ambulance. He was hospitalized overnight before being booked into county jail. Investigators have yet to determine, or at least reveal, the motive for the attack.
The Boulder victims were identified as Talley, 51, Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65.
Hundreds of police officers and residents lined streets Wednesday to pay respects to Talley, a father of seven whose hearse slowly rolled through the streets in a procession from the coroner’s office in Boulder to a funeral home in Aurora.
“Thank you to everyone who lined the roadways, overpasses and more this afternoon to show your support,” the police department tweeted. “Words can’t express just how much this meant to us #BoulderStrong”
Later Wednesday, hundreds of mourners gathered in downtown Boulder at dusk as the city continued to mourn the tragedy. A string quartet played while mourners held candles and flowers to pay their respects and called for a more loving and supportive world.
Nearly a dozen law enforcement officers stood guard – normally they would have been Boulder police officers, but instead, it was park rangers and state troopers and county sheriffs deputies who stepped in. Several held bouquets of flowers handed to them by mourners.
As darkness fell, Anna Chensny, 24, silenced the crowd with a solo version of Ave Maria, moving several attendees to tears and sobs. The Boulder resident said she had a panic attack in her car Tuesday night after grocery shopping.
“I found this one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she said of her performance Wednesday night. “It’s hard to share your voice when you’re shaking with tears.”
Contributing: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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