The 22 years old accused of committing a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado over the weekend, he is due in court on Wednesday for the first time since the attack that left five people dead and more than a dozen injured.
Anderson Lee Aldrich is expected to attend the initial hearing via video link from the El Paso County Jail.
The hearing will include “notice of arrest charges as well as notice of bail conditions,” according to Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen. Aldrich should be held without bail, Allen added.
Preliminary charges include five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated felony — otherwise known as hate crime — causing bodily harm, according to the El Paso County Court’s online filing.
Formal charges can be expected in about 10 days, Allen said.
Ahead of the hearing, Aldrich’s attorneys filed a court filing stating that the suspect identifies himself as non binary.
“They use them-them pronouns and, for the purposes of all official filings, will be treated as Mx. Aldrich,” the court document reads.
The Public Defender’s Office represents Aldrich and declined all requests for comment, citing office policy.
As the investigation and court process continue, survivors and loved ones of those killed process feelings of shock and grief after a fun night of drag and dance performances turned violent at Club Q, a venue known as a safe space for the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs.
The United States has recorded more than 600 mass shootings so far this year, according to the archive of gun violencewhich, like CNN, defines such incidents as those with at least four dead or injured, not including the shooter.
Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump were killed in attack at Club Q – some while working a Saturday night shift and others while enjoying the night’s events. At least 19 other people were injured, most of them by gunfire, police said.
Aldrich entered the nightclub just before midnight armed with an AR-style weapon and a handgun and immediately began shooting, police said.
“Based on the number of shots that were first fired when he walked into the club, I honestly thought there were multiple people shooting,” clubber Gil Rodriguez told CNN on Monday.
The suspect was quickly arrested 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 celebrated his birthday at the club with his family and friends, tackled Aldrich to the ground and used the suspect’s handgun to hit them repeatedly, Fierro told CNN. Another person jumped in to help and pushed the rifle out of Aldrich’s reach, Fierro said.
Shortly after, Aldrich was arrested and hospitalized. On Tuesday, the suspect was transferred at the El Paso County Jail.
While the murder charges will offer the longest sentencing options, Allen said he expects more charges on top of those.
“Colorado has bias crime laws, which most people understand as hate crimes. We are certainly looking into that, based on the facts involved in this case,” Allen said. “And if there is evidence to charge him, we will charge them as well.”
Additional threatening charges are also possible, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said.
“Every single person that was there at Club Q is a victim of some crime or another,” Weiser told CNN on Tuesday.
“It’s really important that we are able to honor the victims and be able to call this crime for what it really seems to be, which is a hate crime motivated by who people were,” said he added.
As authorities try to determine the motive for 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 as Nicholas Brink and legally changed his name in 2015.
That same year, Aldrich was cyberbullied on a parody website that features photos of Aldrich and uses offensive slurs to mock the then-teen’s weight and accuse Aldrich of engaging in illegal activities. , according to a emergent portrait of the alleged shooter pieced together by CNN.
The page, which was first reported by The Washington Post, is still active.
According to a relative, the suspect’s primary caretaker was his grandmother, who declined CNN’s interview request. Aldrich found himself under his supervision when their mother grappled with a series of arrests and related mental health evaluations, according to court records and an interview with a family member.
Laura Voepel, Aldrich’s mother, called police last year and reported that Aldrich had entered the Colorado Springs home she was renting a room in and threatened her with a pipe bomb.
Video from 2021 appears to show suspect shooting at Colorado club ranting at police
Video obtained by CNN showed Aldrich apparently denouncing the police during the incident and daring them to enter the house.
“I’ve got f**king sh*theads outside, look at this, they’ve got a pearl on me,” Aldrich says on the video, pointing the camera at a window with blinds covering it. “See that right there? The f**king sh*theads pulled out their f**king guns.
Later in the video, Aldrich says, “If they rape, I’ll fuck him in hell.”
The video ends with Aldrich delivering what appears to be a message to law enforcement outside: “So, uh, go ahead and get in, boys! Let’s fucking see it!”
The video does not actually show any officers outside the house, and it is unclear from the video if Aldrich had any weapons in the house.
Several hours after the initial police call, the local Sheriff’s Department Crisis Bargaining Unit was able to get Aldrich out of the house. Authorities did not find any explosives in the home, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.
Aldrich was arrested and jailed in El Paso County Jail on two counts of threatening felony and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, according to a press release 2021 from the sheriff’s office.
It was not immediately clear how the case of the bomb threat was solved; the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the district attorney’s office said no formal charges were filed in the case. The district attorney’s office did not respond to a CNN request for comment.
Aldrich purchased the two guns brought to Club Q on Saturday night, law enforcement sources told CNN this week. But it is not clear if the AR style rifle and a handgun were purchased before or after the 2021 case.
Aldrich’s arrest in connection with the bomb threat would not have appeared in background checks because the case never went to trial, the charges were dropped and the records were sealed. It is unclear what prompted the sealing of the records.
With the shooting occurring days before Thanksgiving, some families planning holiday gatherings are now reeling from the violence.
Here are the five people who died in the Club Q shooting
“We are a grieving city, but we are a recovering city,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told CNN on Tuesday. “The only message we need to convey is that the actions of this isolated individual: … do not define our community. What should define our community is how we respond to it.
Residents, survivors and loved ones of victims supported each other through vigils, ceremonies and financial contributions, Suthers said.
“(Club Q) was really a safe haven, and we want to make sure that kind of thing continues to exist in the future,” Suthers said.
A survivor named Anthony, who declined to give his surname, said “the community is strong and we will get through this”, but he no longer feels safe.
“I will be uncomfortable going anywhere for a long time,” Anthony told a news conference while still hospitalized on Tuesday. CNN KRDO Affiliate reported.
When asked what he would say to the accused shooter, Anthony replied that he would tell Aldrich, “Why don’t you meet someone and get to know their true heart before passing judgment? ”
The suspect, Anthony said, “has hurt a lot of pure and sincere hearts, and I don’t know if they will ever be the same.”