Man charged in Richland Fred Meyer shooting to continue treatment

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

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 his attorneys in his defense, his defense attorney Michael Vander Sys told Superior Court Judge David Petersen on Wednesday. 

Petersen signed an order to keep Kelly at the hospital until he can help in his defense. Defense attorneys and prosecutors are at odds about his medical treatment plan.

Richland Fred Meyer shooting: More details emerge about accused shooter's 'harassing' behavior

A memorial was held for the man killed in the Richland Fred Meyer shooting earlier this week, and now, more details are emerging about the accused killer, Aaron Kelly. 

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.

Court docs: Richland Fred Meyer shooting suspect was known for previous shoplifting incidents

The man suspected in the deadly shooting at a Fred Meyer store in Richland, Washington had been known for previous shoplifting incidents, according to court documents. 

In early February, investigators said Kelly opened fire at the grocery store, killing one person and injuring another. He was arrested hours later on Interstate 90 between Sprague and Spokane. 

Lee said the suspect and the man who died had some sort of interaction prior to the shooting, according to store video footage seen by police. At the time, police said they don’t know what the apparent conversation entailed and don’t know if the two people knew each other.