LGBTQ Club Mass Shooter to Face Hate Crimes Charges, Judge Says

A Colorado judge ruled last week that the suspect in the deadly Club Q shooting last year can be charged with hate crimes.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces 323 charges related to the November 2022 shooting at the LGBTQ night club in Colorado Springs, which killed five people and wounded at least 19 others, as CrimeOnline has previously reported. Patrons of the bar took down Aldrich and stopped the shooting.

The judge heard evidence during the two-day hearing that Aldrich’s mother forced her child to go to gay clubs and that the suspect was obsessed with murder and had pictures of a rifle scope trained on what appeared to be a gay pride parade. While Aldrich’s attorneys argued there was no evidence to support hate crime charges, evidence was presented that supported the idea Aldrich intentionally targeted Club Q, KRCC reported.

“What happened here was senseless, awful and it was tragic,” defense attorney Joseph Archambault said in court Thursday. “But Aldrich’s behavior after this incident says they’re sorry, upset and emotional about what they did. … It’s categorically different than someone who targets a group, and that’s not what Aldrich did. … We have someone who was on a lot of drugs and had mental health issues.”

Since the arrest, Aldrich has claimed to be non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.

The judge has scheduled Aldrich’s arraignment for May 30. A hearing to determine if surveillance footage from the club should be released to the public is scheduled for March 31.

Raymond Green Vance, 22; Daniel Aston, 28; Ashley Paugh, 35; Derrick Rump, 38; and Kelly Loving, 40, were killed in the shooting.

While Aldrich’s attorneys have signaled that their client’s mental health will be key in the defense, Vance’s mother said that was irrelevant.

“To me that has nothing to do with, at the end of the day, he still went in there and killed people and hurt a lot of people,” she said.

Noting how the defendant cried during parts of the testimony last week, Vance said that “he was crying for himself.”

“But he’s going to have a lot more crying to do, so he should save some of those tears right now,” she said.

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[Featured image: FILE – A tribute to the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub painted on the side of a downtown Colorado Springs commercial building November 23, 2022. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)]