Anderson Lee Aldrich is accused of carrying out a shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs that left five people dead.
The alleged attacker in the Club Q gay nightclub shooting killed five people has been charged with hate crime, murder and assault.
Suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich appeared in court Tuesday to hear charges over the November 19 attack at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, Colorado that left five people dead and at least 17 injured. Reuters news agency put the number of injuries at 22.
Those killed were identified as Kelly Loving, 40; Daniel Aston, 28 years old; Derrick Rump, 38 years old; Ashley Paugh, 34 years old; and Raymond Green Vance, 22 years old.
Patrons at the club stopped the attack, knocking Aldrich to the ground and hitting him repeatedly. Richard Fierroa veteran, told reporters he took Aldrich’s pistol and hit the suspect repeatedly.
Fierro said his military training had already begun when the shooting began and that he wanted to keep everyone, including his family, safe at the event. His daughter’s boyfriend was among those killed.
Colorado does not have the death penalty. Aldrich will face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder.
However, Aldrich could face the death penalty in federal court if prosecutors decide to bring charges under US law, which still applies the death penalty for some crimes .
Aldrich has been arrested about the crime of hatred but prosecutors have previously said they are unsure if those charges apply because they need to assess whether there is enough evidence to suggest it was a bias-motivated crime.
District Attorney Michael Allen has noted that murder charges carry the heaviest punishment – possibly life – but also said it’s important to show the community that crimes are motivated by bias. will not be tolerated if there is evidence to support the allegation.
Allen did not detail the allegations during Tuesday’s hearing but said they included “a variety of bias-motivated charges”.
Judge Michael McHenry ordered the arrest warrant unsealed in the case on Wednesday, in the face of objections from Aldrich’s attorney, who said he was concerned about the defendant’s right to a fair trial due to public opinion surrounding him. around the case.
The motive for the shooting has not been determined.
The attack took place during a drag queen’s birthday party, and on the eve of a memorial day for transgender people who died in violence. Club Q is known as a sanctuary for LGBTQ people in the conservative Colorado Springs city.
A patron who helped subdue the gunman, Thomas James, said he wanted to “save the family I found”, suggesting a close bond forged within the club.
The attack drew comparisons with Pulse nightclub massacre 2016 in Orlando, Florida, where a gunman stormed into a gay club and killed 49 people before being killed by police.
Aldrich, who used the pronoun surname/surname according to defense court records, was arrested by police at the club. After Aldrich first trial 23, Allen said that the suspect’s gender identity would not affect the prosecution of the case.
The shooting comes amid a growing wave of anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the United States that advocates say could lead to violence.
The shooting also rekindled debates about the prevalence of gun violence United States.
More than a year before the shooting, Aldrich was arrested on charges of making bomb threats that forced the evacuation of about 10 homes. Aldrich threatened to harm family members with a homemade bomb, ammunition and multiple weapons, authorities said at the time.
The case was later sealed and it’s unclear what happened to the charges, but there hasn’t been any public indication that they led to a conviction.
Colorado has a “red flag” law that allows the confiscation of firearms from people who have demonstrated the ability to harm themselves or others, but the law is not invoked.