Morning Sun

Suspect who shot at Alma cops undergoes competency exam

- By Greg Nelson gnelson@medianewsg­

The suspect who shot at several Alma police officers in October has undergone a psychiatri­c examinatio­n to see if he’s competent to stand trial.

A probable cause hearing scheduled in Gratiot County’s 65th District Court last week for Tyler Joe Moreno, 28, of Alma, was canceled while authoritie­s and the defendant await results of the exam, Prosecutor Keith Kushion said.

Moreno faces 18 charges, including three of attempting to murder three police officers.

He was sent to the state’s forensic center last month for the psychiatri­c exam, which will determine if he’s criminally responsibl­e for committing the crimes and to see if Moreno understand­s the nature of the charges against him and is competent to make decisions regarding how his case will proceed, according to Kushion.

“Once the results are received a competency hearing will be scheduled and we will go from

there,” he explained.

A district court preliminar­y hearing has been tentativel­y set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, but that will likely be reschedule­d, Kushion noted.

The incident occured on Oct. 18 when officers outside the city’s Department of Public Safety radioed they were being fired upon by Moreno and gave chase.

He then fled the scene in his vehicle west on Superior Street, continuing to shoot while police were in pursuit.

More gunfire was exchanged once Moreno was stopped on West Superior in front of Dunning Memorial Chapel on the Alma College campus. Moreno was wounded in the altercatio­n and taken to the hospital for treatment.

He was later released and arraigned the next day.

In addition to the three attempted murder charges Moreno also faces six counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, firing a weapon at a building, firing from a car and three counts of felonious assault, among others.

The day the shooting occurred Moreno was scheduled to appear in Gratiot County Circuit Court to face previous charges of felonious assault, reckless driving, drunken driving and malicious destructio­n of property.

Moreno has a long criminal history dating back to 2011, according to court records. In 2018, he was sentenced to 120 days in jail and two years probation for three counts of felonious assault, also involving Alma police officers.

He remains lodged in the Gratiot County Jail without bond.

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