Club Q shooter who killed 5 people in Colorado Springs pleads guilty to 50 federal hate crimes

Anderson Aldrich is already serving a life sentence related to state charges for the November 2022 attack that also left 17 wounded at an LGBTQ+ nightclub.

Club Q shooter who killed 5 people in Colorado Springs pleads guilty to 50 federal hate crimes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The person who already pleaded guilty to state charges related to a deadly shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in 2022 pleaded guilty a second time Tuesday morning - this time to 50 federal hate crime charges.

Anderson Aldrich was sentenced to life in prison last June after pleading guilty to the state charges of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder — one for each person at Club Q during the attack on Nov. 19, 2022.

Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump and Raymond Green Vance were killed in the shooting. Seventeen other people were wounded.

Aldrich entered the guilty pleas under a deal with prosecutors that allows the shooter to avoid the death penalty and instead be sentenced to more multiple life sentences for the hate crimes plus a total of 190 years on other counts.

Defense attorneys in the state case, who said their client is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, argued that Aldrich was drugged up on cocaine and medication at the time. In phone calls from jail with The Associated Press last year, Aldrich didn’t answer directly when asked whether the attack was motivated by hate, saying only, that’s “completely off base,” and did not reveal a motivation to the AP or in state court.

According to the sentencing statement, the shooter had been at the club at least eight times before the shooting, including one visit about an hour and a half before the shooting.

The document says the shooter, who since their arrest has identified as nonbinary, shared anti-transgender views online. The shooter also used anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and expressed an interest in mass shootings, the document says.

The document says the shooter was fired from a job weeks before the shooting, in September 2022. Shortly after the termination, the shooter's former supervisor, who is gay, "received a barrage of emails containing anti-gay slurs and commentary," according to the document.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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