COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - An Iraqi immigrant charged with attempted first-degree murder for allegedly shooting a Colorado Springs police officer in the head has been ruled competent to stand trial.
Karrar Noaman Al Khammasi also withdrew his plea of not guilty during Wednesday's review hearing.
Al Khammasi is accused of shooting CSPD Officer Cem Duzel in the head while Duzel and several other officers responded to a call about shots fired near Bonfoy and Boulder in August of 2018.
Al Khammasi originally pleaded not guilty last year, and underwent a mental health evaluation, which put his 6 month trial on hold. Criminal Defense attorney, Jeremy Loew, explains: "The clock stops once competency is raised." Now that he's deemed competent, Al Khammasi's lawyers are backpedaling. Loew says it's all part of their plan to buy more time." The defense could potentially just not have enough time to prepare their defense and as a result, they would withdraw their not guilty pleas to give themselves more time."
Al Khammasi goes back to court in September. If convicted, Loew says he faces up to 48 years in prison.
Al Khammasi is a refugee from Iraq for unknown reasons, and has been in the U.S. for nearly six years. Since his move, he's has racked up a lengthy criminal record, including trespassing, assault, parole violations, and weapon offenses.
Al Khammasi fled Iraq and was in Istanbul when he was granted refugee status by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012.
Duzel survived the shooting but has undergone nearly a year of rehabilitation and hasn't been able to return to duty.
One of his felonies in the U.S. almost got him deported in 2016, according to the Associated Press, but the proceedings were ended due to an appeals court ruling that immigration law's definition of violent crime was too vague.
We spoke to the Colorado Springs police who gave us an update on how the officer who was shot last August is doing. More than a year later, Officer Cem Duzel is still in the process of recovering.