Colorado LGBTQ Club Shooting: Suspect Held for Murder and Hate Crimes

The man suspected of gunning down several people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado’s second-largest city over the weekend could face murder and hate crime charges.

The suspect – identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, of Colorado Springs – is currently being held without bond on 10 ‘arrest only’ counts – five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily harm, according to online court records from El Paso County, Colorado.

However, those charges “are only preliminary,” according to Michael Allen, an attorney for Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District, which serves El Paso and Teller counties.

“There have been reports that charges have been filed. That’s not true,” Allen said at a press conference in Colorado Springs on Monday afternoon. “In any case like this, an arrest warrant will be drawn up, supported by an affidavit of probable cause, and submitted to a judge for approval to arrest a suspect. That happened here in this case. “

“All charges associated with an arrest warrant are preliminary charges only,” he added. “It is very common for the final charges to be different from those in the arrest affidavit. Typically, there will be more charges than what is stated in the arrest affidavit. So don’t be not surprised when you see a different list of charges when we finally file formal charges with the court.”

Watch Colorado Governor Jared Polis discuss the fatal LGBTQ nightclub shooting today on ABC’s “The View.”

People mourn during a memorial for the victims of the mass shooting at Club Q LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado on November 21, 2022.

Alyson Mcclaran/Reuters

Aldrich allegedly started firing a long gun as soon as he walked into Club Q in Colorado Springs late Saturday night. At least five people were killed and 17 others were injured by the gunfire, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department, which named the deceased victims as Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump and Raymond Green Vance .

Police say “two heroes” – identified as Thomas James and Richard Fierro – confronted Aldrich and fought with him, preventing him from shooting more people. Officers responded to the scene and arrested Aldrich just after midnight, less than six minutes after the first 911 call, police said.

Aldrich was injured in the alleged incident and remains hospitalized. Once medical staff determine he can be turned over to authorities, Aldrich’s first court appearance will be scheduled, which Allen said he expects to have “in the next few days.” This appearance will be by video link from the jail, according to the district attorney.

“We will notify the suspect at that time of the arrest charges and his bail status,” Allen told reporters. “He is being held without bail, so he will not have the opportunity to be released.”

“Within a few days of this first appearance, we will return to the courtroom and file formal charges with the court,” he added.

PICTURED: A woman holds a rainbow flag as she visits a makeshift memorial near Club Q nightclub, November 21, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A woman holds a rainbow flag while visiting a makeshift memorial near Club Q nightclub on November 21, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The El Paso County District Court sealed the warrant and supporting documents related to Aldrich’s arrest. According to the prosecutors’ request, if the files were “released, it could compromise the ongoing investigation”.

In June 2021, Aldrich was arrested in a suspected bomb threat incident after his mother alerted authorities that he “threatened to harm her with a pipe bomb, several weapons and ammunition”, according to a press release posted online last year by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Although no explosives were found in his possession, Aldrich was incarcerated in the El Paso County Jail on two counts of felony threatening and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, according to the office of the sheriff.

Aldrich’s 2021 arrest may not have appeared in background checks because the case does not appear to have gone to trial, officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

ABC News and other news outlets have asked the Colorado court to unseal records relating to Aldrich’s 2021 arrest.

Colorado’s Red Flag law, which went into effect in 2020, allows relatives, household members and law enforcement to ask a judge to order the seizure of a homeowner’s guns. firearms if that owner is considered a risk to themselves or others. It’s unclear whether that law would have prevented the suspect from targeting Club Q, according to El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, who could not recall the circumstances surrounding Aldrich’s arrest in 2021 at the request of the police. ‘ABC News.

PICTURED: People visit a makeshift memorial near Club Q nightclub, November 21, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

People visit a makeshift memorial near the Club Q nightclub, November 21, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Club Q has served the Colorado Springs community for two decades and was considered a safe haven for LGBTQ people. The nightclub hosts a weekly drag show and a live DJ on Saturday nights, according to its website.

Club Q co-owner Nic Grzecka told ABC News that Aldrich was a stranger to their long-established locale.

“He has never spent money on a credit card or scanned ID at our company that we know of,” Grzecka said in an interview Sunday. “I think it was a target community for him.”

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told ABC News the suspect “had considerable ammunition” and “was extremely well armed” when he allegedly entered Club Q. an investigation, Suthers said “he has the outward signs of a hate crime.” .”

“But we’re going to have to see what the investigation shows in terms of, you know, social media and things like that to be clear about what exactly the motive was,” the mayor said in an interview Monday.

Matt Gutman, Irving Last, Josh Margolin, Alyssa Pone, Tonya Simpson, Stephanie Wash and ABC News’ Robert Zepeda contributed to this report.

ABC News

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