Headlines – March 29, 2023

Headlines for March 29, 2023

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    Headlines – March 29, 2023 Stacie Johnson

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Boulder DA Seeks Competency Hearing Of King Soopers Shooting Suspect 

The Boulder County District Attorney is seeking a competency hearing of the Defendant in the Table Mesa King Soopers mass shooting case, suggesting the suspect might be refusing mental health treatment of his own volition rather than because of a mental health disorder. 

The 23-year-old suspect has been a patient at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo since the court declared him incompetent for trial in December 2021. 

The suspect is facing first-degree murder charges and other felonies in relation to the killing of ten people at the Table Mesa King Soopers on March 22, 2021.

According to the Daily Camera, the DA’s office is also raising repeated concerns about the suspect’s mental health symptoms and the ability of the state hospital to treat him because of staffing and wait times.  

In early February, prosecutors requested a forensic psychological exam of the suspect, but Judge Ingrid Bakke ruled that only the state hospital could order that exam. According to court documents released Tuesday, the state hospital determined the exam was not necessary. 

Prosecutors argue criminal defendants have incentives to feign symptoms in the context of competency evaluations and that the state hospital has not conducted any standardized testing to verify if that is the case. 

Attorneys for the suspect argue that the defendant’s doctors and his competency evaluators continue to say he is incompetent and that there is no evidence suggesting otherwise. 

The court has scheduled a review hearing for April 28th. 

Study Says 1-in-4 Colorado Teens Have Fast Access To A Loaded Gun

A Colorado School of Public Health study suggests one in four Colorado teens can access a loaded gun within 24 hours, with nearly half of those teens reporting they can do it in less than 10 minutes.  

Researchers say they used data from the Healthy Kids Colorado Study, a survey that randomly samples 41,000 Colorado teens in middle and high school. 

Virginia McCarthy, a lead author behind the study, told Kaiser Health News, the time it takes to access a gun matters, especially for teen suicide attempts, which are often impulsive. 

According to Kaiser Health News, the majority of teen gun deaths are suicides even though school shootings receive more attention. 

Survey results also show that Native American students in Colorado reported the greatest access to a loaded gun and that Native American youths have the highest rates of suicide. 

Bennett and Neguse Ask EPA To Revisit Analysis Of Uinta Basin Railway Crude Oil Transport Plan

U.S. Senator Michael Bennett and Rep. Joe Neguse issued a letter Tuesday asking the Environmental Protection Agency to revisit their review of a new railroad that would connect Utah’s Uinta Basin oil fields with a national rail network.

The proposed route is part of a plan, negotiated over several years, that would allow rail shipment of crude oil through Colorado from Utah to refineries in the Gulf Coast. 

According to The Colorado Sun, the EPA is the fourth agency the lawmakers have approached with requests to reject the plan. 

The lawmakers thus far this year have asked the Forest Service to overturn their approval of a short stretch going through national forest. They have also requested the Department of Transportation to deny approval of $2 billion in private activity bonds to build the railroad.

Last year, the lawmakers asked President Biden’s Council on Environmental Quality to review the 2021 approval by the Surface Transportation Board. 

The Colorado Sun also reports many Colorado municipalities and organizations are expressing concerns about the environmental review of the railroad by arguing risk of derailment and oil spills in Colorado were not factored into the analysis. 

Colorado Agencies Release New EV Plan To Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A newly released plan aims to electrify the transportation methods in the state, with current forms contributing nearly a quarter of Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Colorado Energy Office, the Department of Transportation and the Air Pollution Control Division released the plan Tuesday.

Goals include the ability to support just over 2 million electric vehicles on state roads by 2035, with an infrastructure of roughly 1,700 public fast-charging ports and 5,800 Level 2 chargers. The plan aims for zero-emission vehicles to make up 30% of new sales for medium to heavy duty vehicles by 2030. The state’s new EV plan also focuses on electrifying diesel-based trucks and bus fleets. 

The Denver Post reports the trucking industry is questioning how realistic and feasible some of the plan’s aims are, with its association proposing an alternate plan of phasing in requirements, providing exemptions, and encouraging renewable natural gas or compressed natural gas.

North Boulder Break-In Suspect Barricades Himself, Prompting Shelter-In-Place Order

Late Monday evening, Boulder police responded to a call of a man breaking into a north Boulder home of a woman he knew but was not allowed to go near per a protection order. Police say the woman was not home at the time, but she saw the break-in remotely from a surveillance video. 

As officers arrived on scene, they reported seeing the suspect inside the home with what they believed was a firearm. The suspect also refused police instruction to leave the home and began covering windows. 

After failed attempts to take the man into custody, Boulder Police activated their SWAT team and issued a shelter in place order for the area surrounding the home. 

The suspect finally surrendered himself to police around 8:00 AM Tuesday. 

According to Boulder Police, the suspect caused extensive damage to the inside of the home as well as police equipment during the incident.  

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    Headlines – March 29, 2023 Stacie Johnson

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