Man charged in Fred Meyer shooting to continue treatment

Jun 16, 2022, 10:29 AM
Suspect in relation to Richland Fred Meyer shooting (Credit Kennewick Police via Twitter)
(Credit Kennewick Police via Twitter)

The gunman accused of shooting two men inside the Richland Fred Meyer store needs mental health treatment before he can be tried for murder and attempted murder.

One dead, one injured after shooting inside Richland Fred Meyer; suspect arrested

Court proceedings against Aaron Christopher Kelly, 40, have been on hold since Feb. 23 when a judge ordered him sent to Eastern State Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, the Tri-City Herald reported.

Hospital evaluators said Kelly was not mentally competent to help in his defense, his attorney Michael Vander Sys told Superior Court Judge David Petersen on Wednesday.

Petersen signed an order to keep Kelly at the hospital until he is deemed competent. Defense attorneys and prosecutors are at odds about his medical treatment plan.

Hospital officials want to treat Kelly using medication, but his lawyers object. A special hearing will be scheduled to debate the issue. No matter the outcome, Kelly is expected to appear in court on Sept. 21 to check on his status. Both Benton County prosecutors and defense attorneys are asking that a specific judge be assigned to handle the case going forward.

Kelly has yet to enter a plea to the charges of murder and attempted murder. His attorneys have fought the lengthy delay, calling it a violation of his due process rights.

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Man charged in Fred Meyer shooting to continue treatment