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Colorado Springs shooting suspect faces murder, hate crime charges after gay club rampage

The man suspected of killing five people and injuring others at an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is facing murder and hate crime charges, according to online court records obtained Monday. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, the records show.

The charges were preliminary, and prosecutors had not filed them in court. The hate crime charges would require proving that the gunman was motivated by bias, such as against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and authorities haven’t so far given a suspected motive for the attack.

Court documents laying out what led to the suspect’s arrest have been sealed at the request of prosecutors, who said releasing details could jeopardize the investigation. Information on a lawyer for the suspect was not immediately available. The suspect was in custody at a hospital, police said.

Club Q on its Facebook page thanked the “quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

On Monday afternoon, police clarified how many people were hurt in the shooting. According to Colorado Springs police, 17 victims were wounded and one victim suffered an injury that wasn’t a gunshot wound.

Authorities had said at least seven were in critical condition. Mayor John Suthers told The Associated Press there was “reason to hope” all of those hospitalized would recover.

“We know many more community members were present at Club Q during the shooting, who may be victims with no visible injuries,” the police said on Twitter. “An example is a community member who ran out as the shooting occurred.”

Speaking to “CBS Mornings” early Monday, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said he was saddened by the shooting.

“This is tragic, and it just feels like an evil person has come in and done something horrific in this community,” Vasquez said.

Already questions were being raised about why authorities didn’t seek to take the suspect’s guns away from him in 2021, when he was arrested after his mother reported he threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons.

Though authorities at the time said no explosives were found, gun control advocates are asking why police didn’t try to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law, which would have allowed authorities to seize the weapons his mother says he had. There’s also no public record prosecutors ever moved forward with felony kidnapping and menacing charges against the suspect.

The shooting rekindled memories of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people. Colorado has experienced several mass killings, including at Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theater in suburban Denver in 2012 and at a Boulder supermarket last year.

It was the sixth mass killing this month and came in a year when the nation was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Floral tributes are placed in memory of the victims after a mass shooting at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, November 20, 2022.
Floral tributes are placed in memory of the victims after a mass shooting at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, November 20, 2022.

Reuters/Kevin Mohatt

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