Colorado Shooting Suspect Facing Murder, Hate Crime Charges

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
November 21, 2022US News

The man suspected of opening fire at a nightclub in Colorado Springs was being held on murder and hate crimes charges on Nov. 21, two days after the attack that killed five people and wounded many others.

Online court records showed that Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faced five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury in Saturday night’s attack at Club Q.

It was not immediately clear if the allegations were formal charges filed by prosecutors or preliminary charges filed by police. Prosecutors and police did not respond to requests for comment on the records. The hate crime charges would require proving that the suspect was motivated by the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We’re looking at this as a bias-motivated or hate crime type of incident, and we’ll learn more as this investigation progresses,” Colorado Springs District Attorney Michael Allen said on MSNBC on Monday.

If hate crime charges were filed, he said, “it signifies what type of crime this was, what motivation led him to this shooting” but would not increase a potential sentence.

Court documents laying out what led to Aldrich’s arrest have been sealed at the request of prosecutors, who said releasing details could jeopardize the investigation. Information on a lawyer for Aldrich was not immediately available.

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.

Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that features a drag show on Saturdays, according to its website. Club Q’s Facebook page said planned entertainment included a “punk and alternative show” preceding a birthday dance party, with a Sunday all-ages drag brunch.

People Grabbed Gun

The shooting took place shortly before midnight and police were called at approximately 11:57 p.m., officials said. Officers arrived within minutes and Aldrich was taken into custody at 12:02 a.m. with injuries.

The quick resolution was “largely because two—but primarily one, as I understand it—are able to take a handgun that he’s got in his possession, take it away from them, and use that weapon, not by shooting it, but by hitting him and disabling him,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said on NBC’s “Today” show.

“It’s an incredible act of heroism. And I think when you look at this in the timeframe, that act probably saved a lot of lives. There’s no question about that,” Suthers added.

Allen also said that the man with a gun was stopped by people inside the club.

“It is my understanding that two people inside the club were able to respond to the shooting and immediately engage with the shooter and subdue him,” Allen said on MSNBC. “I think those people are heroic. They stopped other people from being shot and killed, and their actions can’t be commended enough.”

The firearm was a “long rifle,” Suthers said previously.

Authorities couldn’t say whether the shooter obtained the firearm legally.

Allen said that would be investigated. Officials will also look into whether somebody else helped the man acquire the rifle.

No Answers on Bomb Threat

Aldrich’s mother called authorities in 2021 over a bomb threat, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Allen and Suthers said Colorado law prohibited them from commenting on that incident and whether it was related to the shooting.

“I think the district attorney will be filing some motions in court today that will allow law enforcement to talk more about any criminal history that this individual might have,” Suthers said.

According to the sheriff’s office, Aldrich’s mom said her son “was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”

Deputies responded to the home and soon learned Aldrich was about a mile away. Aldrich refused to surrender.

After a standoff and evacuation of nearly a dozen nearby homes, Aldrich complied with orders to surrender and was apprehended.

Aldrich was charged with felony menacing and first-degree kidnapping, but there’s no public record that prosecutors moved forward with the charges.

No police or relatives tried to trigger Colorado’s so-called red flag law, which might have led to authorities seizing Aldrich’s weapons.

An online court records search did not turn up any formal charges filed against Aldrich  in the case. And in an update on a story on the bomb threat, The Gazette newspaper of Colorado Springs reported that prosecutors did not pursue any charges in the case and that records were sealed.

The Gazette also reported Sunday that it got a call from Aldrich in August asking that it remove a story about the incident.

“There is absolutely nothing there, the case was dropped, and I’m asking you either remove or update the story,” Aldrich said in a voice message to an editor. “The entire case was dismissed.”

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, Howard Black, declined to comment on whether any charges were pursued. He said the shooting investigation will also include a study of the bomb threat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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