A judge in the U.S. state of Colorado has ordered the suspect in the killing of 10 people at a supermarket to remain in jail without bond.
Authorities have charged 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa with 10 counts of murder in connection with the mass shooting at a grocery store on Monday in the city of Boulder, about 45 kilometers northwest of Denver.
Judge Thomas Mulvahill granted a request Thursday from Alissa’s lawyers to delay the preliminary hearing by up to three months to have him undergo a mental health assessment.
Alissa’s lawyers did not provide details about his condition, but a law enforcement official briefed on the killings previously said family members informed investigators of their belief he was mentally ill.
Alissa surrendered his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days to allow time for the mental health examination.
Thursday was the first time Alissa appeared in public since his arrest on Monday inside the supermarket where the killings occurred.
Alissa acknowledged he understood his legal rights, including that he would be held without bail.
The fatal mass shooting prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to call Tuesday for a nationwide ban on assault weapons.
Speaking at the White House, Biden said, “I don’t need to wait a minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps to save lives.”
He urged members of the House and Senate to act.
“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said, noting that he worked on similar legislation when he was a senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That law was passed in 1994 but was allowed to expire 10 years later.
Biden also called on the Senate to approve measures already passed by the House that would close loopholes in laws requiring background checks on the purchase of guns.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held a hearing, the first of a series planned to discuss ways of reducing gun violence.
Biden said his heart goes out to the survivors and families of the victims of the Boulder shooting.
Investigators have not disclosed any motives. Authorities said Tuesday that Alissa purchased an assault weapon six days before the attack.
Among the victims – whose ages ranged from 20 to 65 – was 51-year-old Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. He was the first to arrive and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was carrying what was reported to be an assault-style rifle. No other officers were injured.
Biden noted Monday’s attack followed the killing of eight people at three Atlanta-area spas March 16.
Flags in the U.S. capital, Washington, were already flying at half-staff for those victims.