Headlines — February 28, 2023

February 28, 2023

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    Headlines — February 28, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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Boulder Shooting Last Night

A suspect in a shooting near the CU Campus in Boulder last night is still at large. 

Police say the shooting occurred just before 10:30, and sent an adult male to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

CU Boulder sent out a total of five alerts via their CU alerts system. One of them, just after midnight, said, “report of armed suspect on campus south UMC. All dorm residents shelter in place. Avoid area.”

The Boulder Police describe the suspect as a heavy-set white male in his 20s wearing a heavy winter jacket with long brown hair.

The University sent out a final alert just before 12:30 AM, noting police cleared CU family housing, calling it safe to resume normal activities. 

Defense: Boulder Soopers Shooting Suspect Schizophrenic

Defense attorneys for the man accused of killing ten people in a Boulder King Soopers say he’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

23-year-old Ahmad Alissa is charged in the March 2021 murders. 

In a court filing earlier in this month, his lawyers say four mental health experts found Alissa is schizophrenic, with one describing him as near-catatonic while in jail, in the aftermath of the shooting. He has since been moved to a state mental hospital.

Since being moved to that hospital, experts have said he is not competent to stand trial. They say he cannot understand legal proceedings and participate in his legal defense.

Alissa is accused of opening fire with an automatic weapon and killing employees, customers, and a police officer who tried to stop the shooting.

Former Club Q Employees: Crowdsourcing Shares Fall Short 

Former employees of the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs say they have not received their fair shares of money raised through a crowdsourcing effort, after the deadly mass shooting there in November.

The former employees say that after the shootings, when the club had to close, owner Matthew Haynes told them he would make sure they’d be okay financially.

Colorado Newsline is reporting that Haynes raised more than 55-thousand dollars from a GoFundMe drive. Several of the former employees say they’ve received a thousand dollars or less, while others say they haven’t received anything at all.

The Club Q GoFundMe page says some of the money raised will go to remodeling, and to a memorial to the shooting victims, according to the Denver Post. 

Bill to Increase Access To Mental Health Treatment Awaits Polis Signature

A bill to improve access to mental health treatment in Colorado has sailed through both houses of the state legislature and is now awaiting Governor Polis’s signature.

The state House approved HB 23-1071 yesterday, after changes made by the state Senate.

The bill’s supporters say it will allow qualified psychologists to prescribe mental health medications to those patients who need it. Under existing law, only doctors or psychiatrists can issue prescriptions.

Boulder representative Judy Amabile says it will, quote, “bridge a gap in mental health care access, by helping Coloradans receive treatment faster.” 

Colorado Rent Control Measure

The State House has also approved a measure that would give local governments the power to develop rent stabilization policies tailored to their own communities.

House Bill 1115 passed on a 40-to-24 vote yesterday, and goes next to the State Senate. If approved and then signed by the Governor, it would reverse current law, which prevents local rent control ordinances on private housing.

Advocates say it would help working families stay in their homes and build the communities they want.

Mask Mandate Ends At Two Colorado Hospitals

Two Colorado hospitals and all their facilities are about to end mask requirements, three years after the start of the COVID-19  pandemic.

Both Denver Health and UCHealth hospitals will end face mask requirements for asymptomatic patients, visitors, staff, partners and volunteers in all of their facilities tomorrow, March 1. All are welcome to continue wearing masks if they prefer.

Channel9 reports that UCHealth feels that since Colorado is experiencing substantial decreases in COVID-19 cases and influenza cases now was the time to discontinue the mask mandate.

Denver Health’s decision to lift the masking policy relies on there being no significant changes in epidemiological trends and is subject to change should any community respiratory virus infection rate rise.

UCHealth and Denver Health are still requiring any patient who has an infectious disease to wear a mask, and any staff members or providers who care for those patients will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment. They will continue to promote anyone experiencing cold, flu or other respiratory symptoms or who is not fully vaccinated to continue wearing a mask.

Excessive Force Suit/Chaffee County 

A Colorado man is suing the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Department and several other law enforcement agencies for alleged excessive force during an arrest. 

Chaffee county police pulled over 30-year-old Eliss Athanas as he was driving home from the gym. 

Police body camera video shows officers wearing tactical gear approach the car with guns drawn.

According to the Denver Post, Athanas put his hands out of the driver’s side window but an officer detonated a so-called “flash bang” device just outside the window before arresting him.

According to the lawsuit, Athanas, following his arrest, became nauseous, developed a severe headache and collapsed on the way to jail. 

According to the lawsuit he was later diagnosed with a concussion. 

Kevin Mehr, Athanas’ attorney, told the Denver Post that the Chaffee County Sheriff’s sergeant wrongly claimed Athanas’ criminal history “to justify the high-risk traffic stop.”

Athanas’ arrest warrant was a day old at the time of the arrest.

A judge dismissed the charges, ruling insufficient evidence. Athanas’s attorney calls the incident, quote, “an alarming display of the militarization of the police” in the United States.

Littleton Police Release Body-Camera Video

Newly-released bodycam video shows that Littleton police earlier this month waited nearly five minutes to help a suspect they shot

That suspect, 41-year-old Stephen Poolson, later died from his wounds.

Police originally said they responded to a suspicious vehicle call, and witnessed Poolson crash the motorcycle he rode. But the Denver Post reports the video released yesterday shows the officer ramming into Poolson’s motorcycle, and then chasing him behind an apartment building.

Police also said that Poolson pulled a gun. The video is not clear on that point, but the Post says an officer is heard saying, “don’t shoot.”

The incident remains under investigation and the officer who shot Poolson is on paid administrative leave.

Three Killed In Avalanches

Rescue workers in Southwestern Colorado have recovered the body of a man swept up in an avalanche over the weekend.

The Conejos County Sheriff’s Office says 45-year-old Kevin Gray was with a group of snowmobilers near La Manga Pass on Saturday, when caught in the avalanche. The others could not rescue him. Emergency workers searched the area through the day and into Sunday, when blizzard conditions forced them to stop. They resumed the search on Monday, and found the body that afternoon.

Gray is the third person to die in an avalanche in Colorado in recent days. Two backcountry skiers were caught in an avalanche and killed near Durango on Friday.

All told, seven people have died in avalanches in Colorado this winter, surpassing a ten-year average of six.

Meanwhile in Boulder County, a fifty-year-old snowboarder reported missing has been found alive.

The man, who has not been identified, spent more than twenty-four hours in the wilderness before being located near Nederland Monday night.

He received treatment for possible hypothermia. 

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    Headlines — February 28, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

Alyssa Palazzo

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