A judge in San Francisco on Monday suspended criminal proceedings against a Fisherman’s Wharf souvenir shop worker accused in the January killings of two employees at a neighboring business in order to allow a psychologist to assess the defendant’s mental competency.
Hong Ri Wu, 56, is suspected of shooting Feng Ping Ou, a 30-year-old woman, and Qiong Han Chu, a 30-year-old man, at about 8:20 p.m. on Jan. 30 inside the souvenir and luggage shop where they worked at 269 Jefferson St., police said.
Wu, a San Francisco resident, pleaded not guilty in February to two counts of murder, with special allegations of firearm use and multiple murders.
Earlier this month, Wu’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kleigh Hathaway, said in San Francisco Superior Court that she had doubts about Wu’s ability to participate in his own defense.
At a mental competency hearing Monday morning, Hathaway said her doubts stem from her conversations with Wu, who was not in court.
Hathaway said her client does not appear to understand the nature of the charges against him or seem capable of assisting in his own defense.
Judge Garrett Wong decided to suspend the criminal proceedings after appointing a forensic psychologist, Dr. Amy Watt, to look into whether Wu is competent to stand trial.
Wu is scheduled to return to court on July 13, when Wong will consider the doctor’s report on his competency.
Wu is accused of walking into the victims’ store and shooting them. He worked at a nearby competing store and knew Chu and Ou, police said. The victims, both San Francisco residents, died inside the store.
A gun believed to be the murder weapon was recovered at the scene.
Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a rivalry between the two stores, which sold similar items.