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Colorado Springs Club Q shooter charged with federal hate crimes

The shooter who killed five and injured 19 others during a 2022 attack on a Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ club was charged Tuesday with 50 counts of federal hate crimes.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 23, waived the right to indictment and instead “was charged today by an information with hate crimes and firearms charges related to the mass shooting at Club Q” on 19 November 2022, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Aldrich pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 50 hate crime charges and 24 firearms violations. The information charges that Aldrich “murdered five people, injured 19 and attempted to murder 28 more in a willful, deliberate, malicious and premeditated attack at Club Q,” the release states.

Aldrich is already serving life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty in June to five counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder in connection with the Club Q massacre. Powerful victim impact statements before a Colorado Springs court described how Aldrich opened fire at the club before being overpowered by patrons.

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

Tuesday’s charges followed an FBI investigation which alleges “that Aldrich committed this attack because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of any person,” according to the release.

Court filings unsealed Tuesday also indicate that a plea agreement has been reached in which Aldrich is expected to plead guilty and be sentenced on the same future court date. Federal prosecutors will not be seeking the death penalty, according to the documents.

“In consultation with the victims of this incident, the parties jointly filed a motion requesting that the court schedule the change of plea and sentencing hearings on the same date, which the court granted,” the Tuesday release continued. “The parties further informed the court that there is a plea agreement in this matter, and it is anticipated that the defendant has agreed to plead guilty to all charges in the information.

“The time for the entry of the guilty plea has not yet been set.”

Aldrich also pleaded guilty to state bias-based crime charges last year – and the threat of the death penalty in the federal system had been a ‘big part of what motivated’ the shooter to plead guilty to those, District Attorney Michael Allen said at the time, AP reported.