A torrent of grief over the killing of five people at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub has led to mounting questions over whether the weekend massacre could have been averted.
At least 19 others were injured Saturday night at Club Q – a longtime safe haven for the LGBTQ community and now another crime scene in a country that has suffered an average of two mass shootings every day this year.
Authorities have revealed more about the suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who faces preliminary charges of five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime – known elsewhere as hate crime – causing bodily injury.
Authorities have not formally charged Aldrich, who was hospitalized after being subdued by two “heroic” people at the club who police credit for preventing even more tragedy.
The suspect was transferred to the custody of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at the jail, Colorado Springs Police said Tuesday. Aldrich was also listed in the online roster of the county jail.
When asked by CNN on Tuesday if the suspect was cooperating with authorities, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told CNN, “We haven’t received information from him.”
It’s not yet clear whether Aldrich has an attorney.
According to investigators:
- The suspect brought an AR-style weapon and a handgun to Club Q on Saturday night, but mainly used the assault-style rifle to carry out the massacre, Vasquez said.
- While Colorado has a red flag law aimed at temporarily removing gun access from those deemed a danger to themselves or others, it might not have been applied to Aldrich if his 2021 case had never been adjudicated or if no one ever pursued the intervention.
The suspect is scheduled to have his first court appearance Wednesday, which will include “the advisement of the arrest charges as well as advisement of bond conditions,” Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said.
The suspect will be held without bond, Allen told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
The formal filing of charges “is probably going to be some time next week or, depending on court schedules, the week after that,” Allen said, adding he expects charges in “roughly 10 days.”
And while murder charges will offer the longest sentencing options, Allen said he expects more charges on top of those.
“Colorado has biased-motivated crime statutes, which most people understand as hate crimes. We are definitely looking at that, based on the facts involved in this case,” Allen said. “And if there’s evidence to charge it, we’ll absolutely charge those as well.”
The United States had an assault-style weapons ban that was implemented in 1994 and expired in 2004.
That ban, while not perfect, “had the effect of limiting the number of high-capacity semi-automatic weapons … that were in circulation,” CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Andrew McCabe said.
“We saw a great decline in mass shooting events and deaths during that time,” said McCabe, a former deputy director for the FBI. “This is not even really debatable.”
It’s not clear why the felony charges against Aldrich were dropped following the 2021 report of a bomb threat.
Video obtained by CNN showed Aldrich apparently ranting about the police and challenging them to breach his mother’s home, where he was holed up.
“I’ve got the f**king sh*theads outside, look at that, they’ve got a bead on me,” Aldrich says on the video, pointing the camera at a window with blinds covering it. “You see that right there? F**king sh*theads got their f**king rifles out.”
Later in the video, Aldrich says, “If they breach, I’mma f**king blow it to holy hell.”
He ends the video with what seems like a message to law enforcement outside: “So, uh, go ahead and come on in, boys! Let’s f**king see it!”
The video does not actually show any officers outside the house and it’s not clear from the video whether Aldrich had any weapons in the house.
Several hours after the initial police call, the local sheriff department’s crisis negotiations unit was able to get Aldrich to leave the house. Authorities did not find any explosives in the home, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.
Alrich was arrested and booked into the El Paso County Jail on two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, according to a 2021 news release from the sheriff’s office.
It was not immediately clear how the bomb threat case was resolved, but the Colorado Springs Gazette…