Richland gunman Fred Meyer needs mental health treatment

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Richland shooting Fred Mayer

A Richland Fred Meyer store shooting on February 7, 2022 killed an Instacart worker and a store employee in critical condition. Stick with the Tri-City Herald as we report the latest news in this evolving story.

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The gunman accused of shooting two men inside a Richland store, Fred Meyer, needs psychiatric treatment before he can stand trial for murder.

Court proceedings against Aaron Christopher Kelly, 40, have been pending since February 23 when a judge ordered that he be sent to Eastern State Hospital for psychological evaluation.

Hospital residents found Kelly was not mentally competent enough to assist his attorney in his defense, defense attorney Michael Vander Sys told Supreme Court Justice David Petersen on Wednesday.

Petersen signed an order to keep Kelly in the hospital so he could help defend him.

Kelly remains in a psychiatric hospital in Medical Lake, near Spokane, but appeared in court Wednesday via a video link.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors are at odds over his treatment plan.

Eastern state officials are requesting that Kelly be treated with medication, a move his defense attorneys oppose.

A special session will be scheduled, possibly in the next two weeks, to discuss the issue.

Regardless of the outcome, Kelly is then expected to appear in court on September 21 to verify his situation.

Both Benton County prosecutors and defense attorneys are asking for a designated judge to be appointed to handle the case in the future.

Kelly has yet to appeal the charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

and his lawyers They fought the long delayHe described this as a violation of his due process rights.

They tried to get a court order over a month ago to see him urgently at the 317-bed psychiatric hospital.

However, an attempt to speed up the process failed after state officials said they were dealing with restrictions outside the hospital’s control, according to a briefing from Lisa Lydon of the Washington state attorney general’s office.

Aaron C. Kelly

One of the problems was that a large number of employees were unable to work due to COVID-19.

Fred Mayer shooting

Kelly is accused of walking into Fred Meyer’s Wells Road at about 11am on February 7, having a brief conversation with an Instacart shopper he didn’t know and then shooting him.

Justin Krumpa, 38, died in the store.

Kelly then shot store employee Mark Hill, 56, three times near a customer service desk, according to court documents. Hill was wounded three times but survived.

Kelly stayed in the store for a few minutes before leaving and eventually went to his bank to empty his bank account, prosecutors say.

He was arrested about 11 hours later while driving on Interstate 90 near Sprague, southwest of Spokane in eastern Washington.

troubled history

Kelly’s previous owner In an interview with the Tri-City Herald in February that his roommate terrified him and his housemates for nearly a year and a half before he was forcibly evicted.

Not much is known about Kelly, but Bryant Scott, a former Marine, said it didn’t take long for him to realize his Airbnb tenant was troubled.

He said the erratic, secretive, and paranoid behavior of the former Texas schoolteacher left him and other classmates nervous, even frightened.

Eventually Scott said he was forced to sell his West Pasco home, and Franklin County sheriffs were forced to forcibly evict Kelly from the empty house.

This story was originally published June 15, 2022 5:54 pm.

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Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, as he attempts to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your area. He studied communications at Washington State University.