Mental Illness Linked to Colorado Supermarket Shooting Suspect’s Legal Sanity

BOULDER, Colo. – The man accused of the mass shooting that left 10 dead at a Colorado supermarket in 2021 was found to have untreated mental illness, according to state experts. While the details of the sanity evaluation of Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa conducted at the state mental hospital remain private, the findings were discussed during a recent court hearing. Alissa, clad in a jail uniform and shackles, listened alongside relatives of the victims.

The defense revealed that evaluators attributed the attack to Alissa’s untreated schizophrenia, which included auditory hallucinations. Attorney Sam Dunn mentioned that the evaluators expressed less confidence in their sanity conclusion in comparison to other cases. Prosecutors did not provide additional information about the evaluation’s findings during the court session.

Alissa, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, is accused of carrying out the shooting at a King Soopers store in Boulder on March 22, 2021. Investigations indicate that he had researched how to execute such an attack before targeting individuals on the move, using a firearm equipped with a high-capacity magazine to claim the majority of the victims’ lives in just over a minute.

Legal proceedings were temporarily suspended following the shooting as Alissa’s mental health was brought into question. After being deemed mentally fit to proceed, he entered the not guilty by reason of insanity plea in November. A recent court ruling granted the defense’s request for a reevaluation of Alissa’s sanity at the time of the shooting, but the trial start date was only pushed back by around a month, following objections from victims’ families.

Erika Mahoney, who lost her father in the tragic incident, urged the judge to allow closure for the families before the upcoming holidays. While the trial delays may have been discouraging, the decision to proceed in a timely manner was met with some relief. All parties involved are looking ahead to the trial scheduled to begin in September.