Club Q shooting suspect charged with hate crimes

Crime

Photographs of the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub stand a part of a makeshift memorial near the club Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub is scheduled to make their first court appearance Wednesday from jail after being released from the hospital a day earlier.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(NewsNation) — The suspect in the shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ nightclub has been charged with five counts of murder, as well as being charged with bias-motivated crimes.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors announced they would be charging Anderson Lee Aldrich with 305 charges, including murder, attempted murder, assault and bias-motivated crimes.

Aldrich, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, is accused of entering Club Q clad in body armor and opening fire with an AR-15-style rifle, killing five people and wounding 17 others.

Aldrich was subdued by customers at the club, including an Army veteran, who tackled him and beat him into submission. Many in the club were there for a drag show held to celebrate a drag queen’s birthday.

According to witnesses, Aldrich fired first at people gathered at the club’s bar before spraying bullets across the dance floor during the attack, which came on the eve of an annual day of remembrance for transgender people lost to violence.

Aldrich was detained after the attack and held without bail.

More than a year before the shooting, Aldrich was arrested on allegations of making a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of about 10 homes. Aldrich threatened to harm their own family with a homemade bomb, ammunition and multiple weapons, authorities said at the time. Aldrich was booked into jail on suspicion of felony menacing and kidnapping, but the case was apparently later sealed and it’s unclear what became of the charges. There are no public indications that the case led to a conviction.

While the bias-motivated crime charge can enhance sentencing for other crimes, District Attorney Michael Allen previously noted that murder charges would already carry the harshest penalty, likely life in prison. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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