DENVER – The suspect charged with entering a Colorado gay nightclub dressed in body armor and opening fire with an AR-15-style rifle, killing five people and wounding 17 others, will appear in court again Tuesday to hear what charges prosecutors will present in the attack, including possible hate crimes.

Investigators say Anderson Lee Aldrich entered Club Q, a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in the largely conservative city of Colorado Springs, just before midnight on November 19 and began shooting during a drag queen’s birthday celebration. The killing stopped after patrons tackled the suspect to the ground, beating Aldrich into submission, they said.

Aldrich, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns according to defense court documents, was arrested at the club by police and detained on suspicion of murder and hate crimes while District Attorney Michael Allen determined what charges to file against them. Allen has noted that the murder charges would carry the harshest penalty, likely life in prison, and charging Aldrich with hate crimes would not lead to a harsher punishment.

But at a press conference on November 21, Allen said that if there was evidence to support hate crime, it was still important to go after it to send the message that “we stand with communities that have been slandered, harassed, intimidated and abused”. .”

According to witnesses, Aldrich first shot at people gathered at the club’s bar before firing rounds onto the dance floor during the attack, which came on the eve of an annual day of remembrance for transgender people lost to violence.

More than a year before the shooting, Aldrich was arrested on charges of making a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of about 10 homes. Aldrich threatened to harm his own family with a homemade bomb, ammunition and multiple weapons, authorities said at the time. Aldrich was jailed on suspicion of felony threat and kidnapping, but the case was apparently later sealed and it’s unclear what happened to the charges. There is no public indication that the case led to a conviction.

Video of the doorbell obtained by GLM shows Aldrich arriving at his mother’s front door with a large black bag, telling her that police were nearby, adding: “This is where I am. I’m dying today.”

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