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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Preliminary Murder and Hate Crimes Charges Filed Against Man Accused in LGBTQ Club Mass Shooting

The first call of the shooting at Club Q was received by police at 11:57 p.m., minutes before the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The first, arrest-related charges filed against the 22-year-old accused of killing five people in a Saturday night mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ bar include five hate crimes charges.

Anderson Lee Aldrich faces five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of causing bodily injury by means of bias-motivated crime. Additional charges may be added. Twenty-five people were injured in the attack; some suffered gunshot wounds and some were injured as they attempted to flee the club.

Deputy District Attorney Brent Nelson of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office successfully requested that the arrest warrant affidavit be sealed. “If the information supporting the Arrest Warrant Affidavit was to be released, it could jeopardize the ongoing case investigation,” he stated in the request.

The first call of the shooting at Club Q was received by police at 11:57 p.m., minutes before the Transgender Day of Remembrance that observes the memory of transgender individuals who were victims of violence.

“Initial evidence and interviews indicate that the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting at people inside as he moved further into the club,” Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told reporters Sunday.

“While the suspect was inside of the club, at least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others,” he said. “We owe them a great debt of thanks.”

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told The New York Times that one clubgoer grabbed the handgun of the shooter, who was wielding a rifle, and began pistol-whipping the shooter, pinning him down until police arrived. One of the two patrons who stopped the shooter was injured in the intervention.

“It was quite something. It happened quite quickly,” Suthers said. “This individual was totally disabled by 12:02. That had a lot to do with the intervention of these patrons.”

Club Q posted on its Facebook page that it is “devastated by the senseless attack on our community.”

“Our prays and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends,” the club said. “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

Aldrich had previous contact with police in 2021, when he was arrested after his mother reported that he had made threats with homemade explosives and several weapons. He was taken into custody on two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, but was not charged and was eventually released.

Aldrich was hospitalized with injuries received at the club. Vasquez said today that he had not made any statements to police.

Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said earlier that “the motive of the crime is part of the investigation, and whether this was a hate crime is part of that investigation.”

The FBI’s Denver Field Office tweeted Sunday in a joint statement with the DOJ Civil Rights Division, National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado that they “will review all available facts of the incident to determine what federal response is warranted.” The FBI is also providing assistance to Colorado Springs police.

The Colorado Springs Police Department announced that it is hosting three closed-press Community Resource Expos this week “to provide our community members with support in navigating the variety of emotions surrounding this tragedy.”

“The expo will provide mental health resources, spiritual support, emotional support animals, childcare, emergency financial resources, LGBTQ+ support, meals, and other services,” police said. “Security for all attendees will be provided by uniformed Colorado Springs police officers.”

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Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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