Colorado Springs Gay Club Shooting Suspect in held without bail

Springs Gay Club Shooting: In an initial court appearance Wednesday, the alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was ordered held without bail. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was seen in a brief video appearance from jail with visible injuries on their face and head. El Paso County Court Judge Charlotte Ankeny asked Aldrich to state their name and he appeared to need prompting from defense attorneys.

During Saturday night’s shooting at Club Q, the suspect was beaten into submission by patrons and was released from the hospital on Tuesday. The motive for the shooting was still unknown, but authorities said he could face murder and hate crime charges.

Hate crime charges would necessitate demonstrating that the shooter was motivated by bias, such as hatred for the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges against Aldrich because the charges are preliminary. Joseph Archambault, a chief trial deputy with the state public defender’s office, is representing Aldrich. The office’s lawyers do not comment on cases in the media.

Defense attorneys said late Tuesday that the suspect is nonbinary and in court filings referred to the suspect as “Mx. Aldrich.” The attorneys’ footnotes assert that Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.

Prosecutor Michael Allen repeatedly referred to the suspect as “he” during a press briefing after the hearing and said the suspect’s gender status would not change anything about the case in his opinion. Allen said Aldrich was “physically competent” to stand charges. As a teenager, Aldrich changed his name after filing a legal petition in Texas to “protect himself” from a father with a criminal history, including domestic violence against Aldrich’s mother.

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