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Colorado LGBTQ club shooting suspect set to return to court: NPR

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Mourners gather outside Club Q to visit a memorial, which was moved from a sidewalk outside the police tape that surrounded the club, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Parker Seibold/AP


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Colorado LGBTQ club shooting suspect set to return to court: NPR

Mourners gather outside Club Q to visit a memorial, which was moved from a sidewalk outside the police tape that surrounded the club, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Parker Seibold/AP

DENVER – The suspect accused of entering a Colorado gay nightclub wearing a body armor and opening fire with an AR-15 rifle, killing five people and injuring 17 others, is due to appear in court again on Tuesday to hear what charges prosecutors will pursue in the attack, including possible hate crime charges.

Investigators say Anderson Lee Aldrich walked into Club Q, a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in the predominantly conservative city of Colorado Springs, just before midnight on Nov. 19 and began spinning during his birthday celebration. a drag queen. The killing stopped after patrons knocked the suspect to the ground, beating Aldrich into submission, they said.

Aldrich, who is non-binary and uses the pronouns them/them according to defense court filings, was arrested at the club by police and held on suspicion of murder and hate crimes while the district attorney Michael Allen determined the charges to be brought against them. Allen noted that the murder charges would carry the harshest sentence — likely life in prison — and charging Aldrich with bias-motivated crimes would not carry a harsher sentence.

But at a Nov. 21 press conference, Allen said that if there was evidence to support bias-motivated crimes, it was still important to prosecute them to send the message “that we support communities that have been slandered, harassed, intimidated and abused”. .”

Witnesses said Aldrich first fired at people gathered at the club’s bar before spraying bullets on the dance floor in the attack, which took place on the eve of an annual day of remembrance for the transgender people lost to violence.

More than a year before the shooting, Aldrich was arrested on allegations of making a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of about 10 homes. Aldrich threatened to harm his own family with a pipe bomb, ammunition and several weapons, authorities said at the time. Aldrich was jailed on suspicion of felony threatening and kidnapping, but the case was apparently sealed later and it is unclear what happened to the charges. There is no public indication that the case resulted in a conviction.

Doorbell video obtained by the AP shows Aldrich arriving at their mother’s front door with a large black bag, telling her the police were nearby and adding, “That’s where I’m standing. Today ‘today I die.

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