The suspected shooter accused of killing five people inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado was formally charged on Tuesday with 305 criminal counts including first-degree murder, attempted murder and other hate crimes.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, who identifies as non-binary per defense court filings, has been held in the El Paso County Jail without bond since the violent rampage on Nov. 19 inside Club Q, once a sanctuary for the queer community in the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs.
Dressed in body armor and armed with an AR-15-style rifle and handgun, Aldrich burst into the popular nightclub and opened fire during a drag queen’s birthday party. Kelly Loving, 40; Daniel Aston, 28; Derrick Rump, 38; Ashley Paugh, 34; and Raymond Green Vance, 22 were all killed in the attack. More than a dozen others were wounded.
The violence only stopped when two people with military backgrounds tackled the shooter and held them down until responding authorities arrived on the scene.
Aldrich was left covered in bruises and appeared battered during their first court appearance in the wake of the shooting. They were initially held on suspicion of five counts of first-degree murder and five hate-crime charges, though they were not formally charged until Tuesday,
District Attorney Michael Allen said the murder charges would carry the harshest penalty — likely life in prison — while noting it was also his priority to prove to the community that bias-motivated crimes would not be tolerated.
Allen did not provide further details about the charges but said they included “many counts of bias-motivated crimes.”
Aldrich has not entered a plea or spoken about the events.
More than a year before the shooting, the suspect’s mother reported them for threatening her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. Aldrich was booked into jail on suspicion of felony menacing and kidnapping, but no explosives were ever found at the home. It’s not clear how exactly the case was resolved but it does not appear any formal charges were pursued.
With News Wire Services