Suspect in mass shooting at LGBTQ bar in Colorado faces hate crime charges


On Monday, two days after the shooting that left five people dead and numerous others injured in Colorado Springs, the man suspected of opening fire at a gay nightclub was being held on murder and hate crime charges.

According to online court records, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was charged with five counts of murder and five counts of causing bodily harm out of bias while carrying out the attack at Club Q on Saturday night.

Prosecutors had not yet filed the charges in court because they were only preliminary. For the charges of a hate crime, it would be necessary to demonstrate that the shooter was motivated by prejudice, such as prejudice against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

The assault was stopped when a customer took Aldrich’s handgun, struck him with it, and held him down until police arrived a short while later.

Prosecutors asked the court to seal the details of the case that led to Aldrich’s arrest because they believed disclosing them would compromise the investigation. There was no immediate information on a lawyer for Aldrich.

A handgun and additional ammunition magazines were found in addition to the semiautomatic rifle the suspect, according to a law enforcement official, used. The official spoke to The Associated Press under the condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss investigation specifics in public.

Of the 25 injured at Club Q, some were hurt trying to flee, and it was unclear how many were shot, a police spokesperson said.

When Aldrich was arrested in 2021 after his mother claimed he threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons, questions quickly surfaced about why authorities didn’t try to seize his firearms from him.

Advocates for gun control have questioned why police didn’t use Colorado’s “red flag” laws to seize the weapons his mother claims he had, despite the fact that the authorities at the time claimed no explosives were discovered. There is no evidence that the prosecution ever pursued felony kidnapping and menacing charges against Aldrich.

It was the sixth mass shooting this month and came in a year when the nation was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

The shooting occurred during Transgender Awareness Week and right before Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday, when activities are held all over the world to mourn and remember transgender people who have died as a result of violence.

The US Air Force Academy, the US Olympic Training Center, and Focus on the Family, a well-known evangelical Christian organisation that campaigns against LGBTQ rights, are all located in Colorado Springs, a city of about 480,000 people located about 70 miles (110 kilometres) south of Denver. According to the group, the shooting “exposes the evil and wickedness inside the human heart.” They also condemned the act.

(With inputs from AP)

 

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