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FILE PHOTO: Scott Ostrem, 47, appears in an undated booking photo obtained by Reuters November 2, 2017. Thornton Police Department/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

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By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A man who police said "nonchalantly" walked into a Denver-area Walmart store last year and fatally shot three people is competent to stand trial for murder, a judge ruled on Monday.

Scott Allen Ostrem, 48, was ordered in January to undergo a competency evaluation at the request of his attorneys after he said he wanted to fire his lawyers, a court official said at the time.

Adams County District Judge Mark Warner ruled Monday that an examination conducted by the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo found Ostrem mentally fit to stand trial, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Dave Young said in a statement.

Ostrem's court-appointed attorney could not immediately be reached to comment.

Ostrem, who has been held without bond since his arrest, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, and 30 counts of attempted murder stemming from the shooting spree at a Walmart store in the Denver suburb of Thornton on Nov. 1.

Police said Ostrem walked into the store and opened fire with a handgun, killing Pamela Marques, 52, Carlos Moreno, 66 and Victor Vasquez, 26.

Ostrem fled the scene and was arrested outside his apartment building in suburban Denver the following day after authorities identified him and his car from images captured by the store's surveillance cameras, police said.

No one else was injured in the rampage, but prosecutors charged him with attempted murder for discharging a firearm inside the crowded store with "extreme indifference."

Young previously said he has not decided whether he will seek the death penalty for Ostrem.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for June 8.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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Reuters