News (USA)

Club Q shooter expected to take plea deal: “I was abusing steroids”

Anderson Lee Aldrich
Anderson Lee Aldrich Photo: Colorado Springs Police

In a series of phone conversations with the Associated Press that victims call disingenuous, Club Q shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich claims he has to “take responsibility” for the mass shooting he carried out at Club Q in Colorado Springs in November, which killed five people and wounded 17.

The declaration comes as prosecutors in the case have notified victims that Aldrich will accept a plea deal guaranteeing life in prison, according to some of the survivors contacted by state authorities.

“I have to take responsibility for what happened,” the 23-year-old said in their first public comments about the case.

Survivors have been asked to write victim-impact statements for a June 26 hearing and were advised to prepare themselves for the possible release of surveillance video of the attack.

Victims are calling Aldrich’s mea culpa a disingenuous attempt to avoid the federal death penalty, as he described his actions in generalities like “I just can’t believe what happened” and “I wish I could turn back time.” Those claims are at odds with the evidence of premeditation.

“No one has sympathy for him,” said Michael Anderson, who was bartending at the club that night as patrons were gunned down around him. “This community has to live with what happened, with collective trauma, with PTSD, trying to grieve the loss of our friends, to move past emotional wounds and move past what we heard, saw and smelled.”

When asked if the attack was motivated by hate, Aldrich said the claim was  “completely off base.”

 “I don’t know if this is common knowledge but I was on a very large plethora of drugs,” Aldrich said. “I had been up for days. I was abusing steroids…. I’ve finally been able to get off that crap I was on.”

A former friend and neighbor of Aldrich’s was equally unimpressed with the shooter’s remarks.

“I’m really glad he’s trying to take accountability, but it’s like the ‘why’ is being shoved under the rug,” said Xavier Kraus, who lived across the hall from Aldrich at a Colorado Springs apartment complex.

Aldrich is charged with more than 300 state counts, including murder and hate crimes.

According to a senior law enforcement official, the U.S. Justice Department may file federal hate crime charges as well. The FBI has been investigating the case since the morning of the shooting. Authorities couldn’t say if the anticipated plea deal would resolve the federal investigation.

The AP’s conversations with Aldrich took place over an automated jail phone system in a series of six short calls.

“Nothing’s ever going to bring back their loved ones,” he said. “People are going to have to live with injury that can’t be repaired.”

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