Colorado LGBTQ club shooter charged with over 300 criminal counts

Flowers, candles, and mementos are left at a memorial after a mass shooting at LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. November 26, 2022. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing
Prosecutors have formally charged the Club Q shooter with hate crimes (Picture: REUTERS)

The suspect accused of killing five and wounding at least 17 people at a Colorado LGBTQ club has been formally charged with over 300 criminal counts.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, appeared in person at a hearing in a Colorado Springs courtroom, where he was charged with murder and hate crimes.

Aldrich was already charged with murder, but prosecutors deemed it important to charge him with additional counts of ‘bias-motivated crimes’ to send a message of support to the community.

District Attorney Michael Allen did not go into details about what evidence investigators have collected so far in order to protect the case’s integrity, but did offer words of support to Colorado’s LGBTQ community.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, the suspect in the mass shooting that killed five people and wounded 17 at an LGBTQ nightclub appears with state public defenders Joseph Archambault and Michael Bowman before a judge during his advisement hearing in a video link from jail, slumped to the side and in a wheelchair and showing facial injuries in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. November 23, 2022 in a court artist sketch. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
A courtroom sketch artist’s rendition of suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich when he appeared before a Colorado Springs court (Picture: REUTERS)

‘We are taking this case as serious as we possibly can,’ District Attorney Michael Allen stated. ‘We are going to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.’

He continued: ‘we are not going to tolerate actions against community members based on their sexual identity.’

Allen said that investigators were still trying to determine how many people were in the club when the attack happened. If more people were identified as patrons that night, Aldrich could face additional charges.

‘It is somewhat likely that we amend the charges in this case,’ Allen said.

FILE - This booking photo provided by the Colorado Springs, Colo., Police Department shared via Twitter shows Anderson Lee Aldrich. Aldrich, the suspect accused of entering a gay nightclub clad in body armor and opening fire with an AR-15-style rifle, killing five people and wounding 17 others, is set to appear in court again Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, to learn what charges prosecutors will pursue in the attack, including possible hate crime counts. (Colorado Springs Police Department via AP, File)
This booking photo provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department shows Aldrich the night he was booked (Picture: AP)

He also confirmed that prosecutors will be asking the judge to deny Aldrich bail before his trial.

Aldrich was charged with a total of 305 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault, and hate crimes. If convicted, he faces life in prison without parole.

Colorado does not have the death penalty, but Aldrich could still face a death sentence if he is convicted on federal charges.

On November 19, a gunman wearing body armor and armed with an AR-15 style rifle entered Club Q in Colorado Springs and opened fire. The attack was only stopped when a club patron was able to grab the attacker’s own weapon and subdue him with it.

The five victims killed in the attack were identified as Daniel Aston, 28, Derrick Rump, 38, Ashley Paugh, 35, Kelly Loving, 40, and Raymond Green Vance, 22.

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