An Iraqi refugee accused of shooting a Colorado Springs police officer in the head is competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Karrar Al Khammasi, 32, was ordered to return to court Sept. 6 to be arraigned after a judge approved his attorney’s request to withdraw a not-guilty plea he previously entered. Khammasi was assigned a new public defender after his previous attorney left the Colorado Springs office.
He was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon, felony menacing and illegal possession of a weapon.
Five-year police officer Cem Duzel was wounded in an Aug. 2, 2018, gunbattle near the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Khammasi had been kicked out of an Uber for being “handsy” with the driver moments before his encounter with the officer.
Khammasi, who came to the United States as a refugee, had been slated for deportation in 2016, until a change in immigration law meant his felony trespassing conviction was no longer grounds for removal.
The judge’s finding on competency came after Khammasi underwent separate evaluations by psychologists, both concluding that he understood the charges against him and is capable of assisting in his defense.