Boulder shooting suspect makes first court appearance

An attorney for the man suspected of shooting and killing 10 people at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder brought up the suspect’s mental health at his first court hearing Thursday.

The Boulder County district attorney charged Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21,  with 11 counts in connection to the shooting, though it was not immediately clear what those charges were. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said Thursday he expects to file more charges in the case as the investigation continues.

Alissa has been held in jail since his arrest Monday at the scene of the shooting on suspicion of 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Thursday’s court hearing lasted less than 10 minutes and took place in a mostly empty courtroom, though dozens of people tuned into proceedings online or by conference call. Boulder District Court Judge Thomas Mulvahill read Alissa his rights and told the defendant that the court would wait to make a decision on bail until after a later court hearing, meaning Alissa will remain in jail until then.

Alissa did not speak, except to answer “yes” to the judge’s question of whether he understood his rights. The hearing is the first in what will likely be a lengthy court process.

One of Alissa’s attorneys, Kathryn Herold, said the defense team would need time to analyze Alissa’s mental health, though she did not offer specifics about any diagnoses or conditions the suspect may have.

“We cannot do anything until we can fully assess Mr. Alissa’s mental illness,” she said. “We cannot begin to assess the nature and depth of Mr. Alissa’s mental illness until we have the discovery from the government.”

Discovery is evidence collected by investigators and prosecutors in a case. Dougherty said Thursday that law enforcement continue to process the scene of the shooting.

Mulvahill set the next hearing — a status conference — for 60 to 90 days in the future. At a status conference, prosecutors and defense attorneys discuss a timeline for future hearings and sometimes address any motions made by attorneys.

The defendant does not enter a plea at this stage in the process.

Boulder police allege Alissa opened fire in the parking lot and inside the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in south Boulder on Monday afternoon, killing shoppers, store employees and a responding police officer.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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