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Karrar Al Khammasi

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A judge’s ruling granting a second round of psychological testing will postpone trial for a man charged in a gunbattle that wounded a Colorado Springs police officer in the head.

The case against Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi, 32, will remain in limbo for at least the next several months pending additional testing, 4th Judicial District Judge Jann DuBois ruled Friday.

Khammasi is charged with attempted murder, among other counts, in the Aug. 2 shooting of Colorado Springs police officer Cem Duzel, who remains in treatment for a brain injury.

Khammasi’s trial, previously scheduled for May 13, will be postponed indefinitely.

The move came as DuBois announced that an April 25 evaluation by the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo concluded that Khammasi is competent to stand trial, meaning evaluators reached the opinion that he understands the charges against him and is capable of assisting in his defense.

That opinion isn’t final, however, unless the judge agrees, and several procedural steps remain before she renders her opinion.

Khammasi’s public defender, Jennifer Chu, disputed the findings and requested the second evaluation, which is guaranteed under the law.

He was ordered to return to court June 28. If the second evaluation is disputed, DuBois indicated she will scheduled a competency hearing, at which point the judge could render a decision.

The decision means that Khammasi joins a long list of defendants stuck in a holding pattern while undergoing mental health treatment, including admitted Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr. and James Papol, who is accused in the rape and murder of a woman in Old Colorado City decades ago, when he was 15.

Wearing a lime-green jail jumpsuit, Khammasi, with his hands cupped behind his back and his head partially obscured by a hood meant to keep him from spitting, shook his head repeatedly in court as a translator repeated the judge’s findings.

His court appearances have been troubled from the start, with Khammasi refusing to come to court voluntarily, requiring orders to have him brought forcibly.

Authorities say the shooting that nearly killed Duzel came shortly after Khammasi was kicked out of an Uber car for being “handsy.” Witnesses reported hearing several shots fired during an apparent shootout near the Olympic Training Center in the city’s Knob Hill neighborhood.

It’s unclear what touched off the violence.

Reporter

I cover legal affairs for The Gazette, with an emphasis on the criminal courts. Tips to lance.benzel@gazette.com

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