Colorado Springs shooting: Suspect in the Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting is slated to appear in court today as prosecutors work to finalize formal charges

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CNN

The 22-year-old accused of carrying out a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will appear in court this weekend for the first time since the attack that killed five and injured more than a dozen. .

Anderson Lee Aldrich is expected to attend the first hearing via video conference from the El Paso County Jail.

The hearing will include “the opinion on the arrest charges and the opinion on the terms of the bond,” said Michael Allen, Colorado’s fourth district attorney. Aldrich will be held without bond, Allen added.

Preliminary charges include five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime — elsewhere referred to as a hate crime — causing bodily harm, according to the online filing of the El Paso County Court.

Formal charges can be expected in about 10 days, Allen said.

Prior to the hearing, attorneys for Aldrich filed a lawsuit stating that the defendant identified as non-binary.

“They use they-they pronouns, and for all formal filings they will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich,” the court document said.

The public defender’s office represents Aldrich and has declined all requests for comment, citing office policy.

As the investigation and legal process progress, the survivors and loved ones of the dead process the feelings of shock and grief after a fun night of drag performances and violent dancing at Club Q, a venue known as a safe place for the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs.

The US has recorded more than 600 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which like CNN defines such incidents as those with at least four dead or injured, not counting the gunman.

Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump were killed in the attack on Club Q – some while working a Saturday night shift and others while enjoying the night’s events. At least 19 others were injured, most from gunfire, police said.

Aldrich entered the nightclub just before midnight armed with an AR-style weapon and handgun and immediately began firing, police said.

“From the number of shots that initially went off when he entered the club, I honestly thought it was several people firing,” clubgoer Gil Rodriguez told CNN Monday.

The suspect was quickly taken down and restrained by two patrons until police arrived, which officials say likely prevented more people from being killed or injured.

Richard Fierro, an army veteran who was celebrating a birthday at the club with family and friends, tackled Aldrich to the ground and used the suspect’s gun to hit them repeatedly, Fierro told CNN. Another person jumped in to help and pushed the shotgun out of Aldrich’s reach, Fierro said.

Soon after, Aldrich was taken into custody and hospitalized. Tuesday was the suspect transferred to the El Paso County Jail.

While murder charges will provide the longest sentencing options, Allen said he expects more charges on top of that.

“Colorado has biased crime statutes, which most people understand as hate crimes. We are certainly looking into that, based on the facts of this case,” Allen said. “And if there is evidence to charge it, we will absolutely charge it.”

Additional threat charges are also possible, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said.

“Every person who was at Club Q is a victim of some sort of crime,” Weiser told CNN on Tuesday.

“It’s very important that we can honor the victims and label this crime for what it really appears to be, which is a hate crime motivated by who people were,” he added.

As authorities try to determine a motive behind the shooting, new information has come to light about the suspect’s upbringing and questions have been raised about why previous charges against Aldrich were dropped.

Aldrich was born Nicholas Brink and legally changed the name in 2015.

That same year, Aldrich faced cyberbullying on a parody website that features photos of Aldrich and uses offensive comments to mock the then-teen’s weight and accuse Aldrich of illegal activities, according to an emerging portrait of the alleged shooter compiled by CNN .

The page, first reported by the Washington Post, is still active.

According to a family member, the suspect’s primary caregiver was his grandmother, who declined CNN’s request for an interview. Aldrich came under her watch as their mother struggled with a series of arrests and related mental health evaluations, according to court documents and an interview with a relative.

Laura Voepel, Aldrich’s mother, called police last year and reported that Aldrich had entered the Colorado Springs home where she was renting a room and threatened her with a homemade bomb.

Video from 2021 appears to show suspect in Colorado shooting ranting at police

Video obtained by CNN showed Aldrich apparently ranting at police during the incident, daring them to enter the house.

“I’ve got the f**king sh*theads outside, look, they’re watching me,” Aldrich says in the video, aiming the camera at a window with blinds. “See that there? F**king sh*theads got their f**king guns out.”

Later in the video, Aldrich says, “If they break through, I’ll fucking blow it to holy hell.”

The video ends with Aldrich delivering what appears to be a message to the police outside: “So, uh, go ahead and come in, guys! Let’s see!”

The video doesn’t actually show any officers outside the house, and it’s not clear from the video if Aldrich had any guns in the house.

Within hours of the initial police call, the local sheriff’s department’s crisis negotiation unit managed to get Aldrich to leave the house. Authorities did not find any explosives in the home, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.

Police Chief Adrian Vasquez will provide an update Monday on the Club Q shooting investigation at the Colorado Springs, Colorado Police Operations Center.

According to a 2021 press release from the sheriff’s office, Aldrich was arrested and incarcerated at the El Paso County Jail on two counts of threatening misdemeanor and three counts of first-degree kidnapping.

It was not immediately clear how the bomb scare case was resolved; the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the district attorney’s office said no formal charges had been filed in the case. The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.

Aldrich purchased the two guns brought to Club Q on Saturday night, law enforcement sources told CNN this week. But it’s not clear whether the AR-style rifle and pistol were purchased before or after the 2021 case.

Aldrich’s arrest in connection with the bomb threat would not have been revealed by background checks because the case was never tried, the charges were dropped and the files sealed. It is unclear what prompted the sealing of the documents.

With the shooting occurring just days before Thanksgiving, some families who were planning holiday gatherings are now reeling from the impact of the violence.

Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashely Paugh, Derrick Rump and Raymond Green Vance

These are the five killed in the Club Q shooting

“We are a city in mourning, but we are a city in recovery,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told CNN Tuesday. “The only message we need to get across is that the actions of this lone person: … do not define our community. What should define our community is how we respond to it.”

Residents, survivors and loved ones of the victims have supported each other through vigils, ceremonies and financial contributions, Suthers said.

“(Club Q) has been a really safe haven and we want to make sure things like this continue into the future,” Suthers said.

A survivor named Anthony, who declined to give his last name, said that while “the community is strong and we’ll get through this,” he now feels unsafe.

“I will be uncomfortable going anywhere for a long time,” Anthony said at a news conference while still in the hospital on Tuesday, CNN affiliate KRDO reported.

When asked what he would say to the accused gunman, Anthony said he would say to Aldrich, “Why don’t you meet someone and get to know their true heart before passing judgement?”

The suspect, Anthony said, “has hurt many pure, true hearts, and I don’t know if they will ever be the same.”


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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