Colorado Club Q shooting suspect faces first virtual court hearing, held without bail

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The suspect in the deadly LGBTQ nightclub shooting Colorado SpringsColorado, made an initial court appearance by video Wednesday and was held without bail.

In a short video appearance from prison, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich could be seen slumped in a chair, flanked by two defense lawyers.

Colorado Club Q shooting suspect Anderson Aldrich made his first court appearance Wednesday.

Colorado Club Q shooting suspect Anderson Aldrich made his first court appearance Wednesday.
(KXRM)

The attorneys had to prod their client when El Paso County Court Judge Charlotte Ankeny asked Anderson to state their names and if they understood their constitutional rights.

With visible injuries on the side of their faces, Aldrich replied in slurred, hushed tones. The attorneys waived reading a notice of rights, charges and penalties in the case.

Ankeny set the next hearing for Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. 8:30 with Judge Michael McHenry.

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The hearing came after defense attorneys late Tuesday said that their client is non-binary and in court filings referred to the suspect as “Mx. Aldrich.” The lawyers’ footnotes claim that Aldrich uses they/them pronouns.

Investigators work outside Club Q, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Tuesday.  A gunman opened fire at the LGBTQ+ nightclub, killing five and wounding 25 others, before being subdued by patrons on Saturday.

Investigators work outside Club Q, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Tuesday. A gunman opened fire at the LGBTQ+ nightclub, killing five and wounding 25 others, before being subdued by patrons on Saturday.
(Chet Strange/Getty Images)

The suspect was beaten into submission by patrons during Saturday night’s shooting and Released from Hospital Tuesday. That motive in the shooting was still under investigation, but authorities said Anderson faces possible murder and hate crime charges.

The charges against Aldrich are preliminary, and prosecutors have yet to file formal charges.

Later Wednesday, the Colorado Springs Police Department released a mugshot of the suspect showing Anderson visibly beaten.

A mugshot of Colorado Springs shooting suspect Anderson Aldrich.

A mugshot of Colorado Springs shooting suspect Anderson Aldrich.
(Colorado Springs Police Department)

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Local and federal authorities have declined to answer questions about why hate crime charges were being considered. District Attorney Michael Allen noted that the murder charges would carry the harshest penalty — life in prison — while bias crimes are eligible for probation.

He also said it was important to show society that bias-motivated crimes will not be tolerated.

A woman and her daughter pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sunday.

A woman and her daughter pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sunday.
(Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Aldrich was arrested last year after their mother reported her child threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. Authorities said at the time that no explosives were found, but gun control advocates have questioned why police did not use Colorado’s “red flag” laws to seize the guns Aldrich’s mother says her child had.

Allen declined to answer questions related to the 2021 bomb threat after Wednesday’s court hearing.

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Authorities said Aldrich used a long rifle and was stopped by two clubgoers, including Richard Fierro, who told reporters he took a gun from Aldrich, hit them with it and pinned them down with the help of another person until police arrived .

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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