Prosecutors expect to file additional attempted first-degree murder charges against the suspect accused of killing 10 people Monday at a Boulder King Soopers, Boulder County’s district attorney said Friday.
Investigators so far have spent more than 3,000 total hours conducting 156 interviews and gathering more than 223 leads to unravel what might have motivated the suspect, 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa, to travel from Arvada to Boulder to open fire on shoppers and workers in the middle of a Monday afternoon.
“Like the rest of the community, we too want to know why. Why that King Soopers, why Boulder, why Monday?” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a news conference Friday morning. “Unfortunately, at this time, we still don’t have those answers.”
Earlier this week prosecutors charged Alissa with 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. The charging documents allege Alissa attempted kill Officer Richard Steidell at the supermarket.
Dougherty said other officers responding to the attack faced Alissa’s gunfire, driving more attempted murder charges. He said his office also anticipates eventually filing other charges, but didn’t offer specifics.
Alissa suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh. Officials Friday wouldn’t say whether the shot came from an officer.
Dougherty said he has an estimate of the number of shots fired by the suspect, but declined to share the information.
Alissa first appeared in court Thursday morning. Judge Thomas Mulvahill oversaw yesterday’s hearing, but Judge Ingrid Bakke will preside over the case. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said Friday Alissa’s next court date will be announced next week.
At the next hearing, prosecutors must tell the court why the believe there’s ample evidence to keep Alissa behind bars ahead of a trial, a requirement in first-degree murder when the suspect is held without bail.
Dougherty stressed the need for Alissa to get a fair trial, prompting him stay tight lipped to avoid a defense motion to move the trial out of Boulder County which, could claim media scrutiny poisoned the local jury pool.
“And I want to make sure that the people of Boulder have the opportunity for this trial to be held and for justice to be done here in Boulder County,” he said.
Alissa has been moved out of the Boulder County jail, where he arrived Tuesday. Dougherty vaguely cited security concerns, but said he did not have more information to provide on those worries and did not reveal where Alissa is now held.
Defense attorneys indicated concerns over Alissa’s mental health at the initial hearing. Lawyers didn’t detail Alissa’s mental state, but said they will need to go through prosecutors’ evidence to assess its “needs and depth.”
The defense has not officially raised the issue of defendant’s mental state and whether he’s competent to stand trial. That’s a different issue from sanity, which judges a defendant’s ability to judge right from wrong at the time of a crime.
Officials say the suspect used a semiautomatic Ruger AR-556 firearm. Alissa also had 9 mm pistol, but Herold said they don’t believe he used it in the attack.
Herald confirmed the suspect bought the weapons. Alissa has a 2018 conviction for third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, but according to previous reporting by The Gazette, the conviction didn’t bar him from purchasing the gun.