Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting suspect makes first court appearance

The suspect in the deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, Colo., made a virtual court appearance on Wednesday.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is facing multiple murder and hate crime charges stemming from Saturday’s shooting that killed five people and wounded more than a dozen others at Club Q, which has been described as a sanctuary for LGBTQ people in the community.

In a video feed from El Paso County Jail, Aldrich appeared in an orange jumpsuit slumped over in a wheelchair with visible facial bruises.

Aldrich, who was not formally charged Wednesday, was ordered held without bond. The next court hearing in the case was tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6.

According to police, Aldrich used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon in the attack. A handgun and additional ammunition magazines were also recovered at the scene.

Authorities say two patrons — Richard Fierro, a U.S. Army veteran, and Thomas James — helped subdue Aldrich before officers arrived.

At a press conference Monday, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adam Vasquez also identified each of the five people killed by the pronouns they used to identify themselves: Kelly Loving (she/her); Daniel Aston (he/him); Derrick Rump (he/him); Ashley Paugh (she/her); and Raymond Green Vance (he/him).

A motive for the rampage is still under investigation.

“It has all the trappings of a hate crime,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said on NBC’s “Today” show Monday. “But we need to look at social media, we need to look at all kinds of other information that we’re gathering from people that knew the individual before we make any definitive conclusions about a motivation.”

According to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, a person with the same name as Aldrich was arrested in 2021 after a mother reported that her son had threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. No explosives were found, prosecutors did not pursue charges, and the case was sealed, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

In a Tuesday night court filing obtained by the New York Times, Aldrich's public defenders said that their client is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.

Outside the courthouse, El Paso Country District Attorney Michael J. Allen was asked whether the nonbinary designation would impact his ability to prosecute the case.

"For my purposes, in every single murder case that I've prosecuted, which have been more than I would care to talk about, I refer to every one of those as defendants, and that's what I will do in this case," Allen said. "It has no impact on the way that I prosecute this case in the state of Colorado."

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