News (USA)

Club Q shooter charged with 305 counts, including murder & hate crimes

Anderson Lee Aldrich
Anderson Lee AldrichPhoto: Colorado Springs Police

Anderson Lee Aldrich has been formally charged with 305 counts in relation to allegedly killing five people and injuring 18 in the mass shooting at the LGBTQ+ bar Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado on November 19. The charges include hate crimes and murder.

The 22-year-old Aldrich appeared in court earlier today when District Attorney Michael Allen formally presented the state’s charges. Judge Michael McHenry ordered that the arrest warrant affidavit be unsealed on Wednesday.

Allen didn’t list all of the charges but mentioned that they include “many counts of bias-motivated crimes.”

“We’re not going to tolerate actions against community members based on sexual identity,” Allen said. “Members of that community have been harassed, intimidated, and abused for too long.”

He said that the number of charges shows how seriously the DA’s office is taking the case.

USA Today reports that Aldrich appeared to have recovered since their last court appearance in November, walking into the courtroom. After they allegedly opened fire at Club Q, Richard Fierro grabbed them from behind and pulled them down. Fierro started beating Aldrich with their own gun and Thomas James, another patron of Club Q, kicked Aldrich in the face over and over.

“That was hard to do, it’s not a human act,” Fierro said. “But I asked [James] to help me, and he helped me.”

While Aldrich has not yet publicly stated a motive in the crime, their neighbor said that they regularly used anti-gay slurs, their grandfather is a MAGA Republican lawmaker who supported the January 6 insurrection, and Aldrich’s father expressed anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment when he learned that Aldrich allegedly killed five people.

“They started telling me about the incident, a shooting,” father Aaron Brink said. “And then I go on to find out it’s a gay bar. I got scared, ‘Shit, is he gay?’ And he’s not gay, so I said, phew.”

“My opinion about gays is it’s not ok,” Brink continued. “I think we should stand up against homosexuality.”

In court filings immediately after the shooting, Aldrich’s lawyer referred to them with he/him pronouns. But by the Tuesday after the shooting, the lawyer said that Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns and wants to be addressed as Mx. Aldrich.

Aldrich is being represented by a state public defender’s office lawyer.

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