Club Q shooting suspect makes first court appearance
COLORADO SPRINGS — The suspect accused of killing five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs over the weekend was ordered held without bond during an initial court appearance Wednesday.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, appeared via video from the El Paso County jail, clad in an orange jumpsuit and seated slightly slumped over in a wheelchair behind their two defense attorneys.
Aldrich, whose attorneys said identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, spoke little during the brief hearing, confirming their name and an acknowledgment of their rights in slow, slightly slurred speech. Public defender Joseph Archambault stepped back and placed his hand on Aldrich’s shoulder as they spoke.
Aldrich, who police say was tackled and subdued by patrons shortly after the shooting began late Saturday night, was released from a local hospital Tuesday.
REMEMBERING CLUB Q VICTIMS
- Daniel Davis Aston, 28
- Kelly Loving, 40
- Ashley Paugh, 35
- Derrick Rump, 38
- Raymond Green Vance, 22
It was the suspect’s first public appearance since they were arrested early Sunday on suspicion of killing five people and injuring 18 more at Club Q, a Colorado Springs nightclub. Formal charges have yet to be formally filed; Aldrich has been held on suspicion of five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crimes causing bodily injury.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said after the hearing that prosecutors expect to file formal charges at Aldrich’s next hearing; that date is still being set. County Court Judge Charlotte Ankeny ordered Aldrich held without bond, and Allen said prosecutors will seek to continue that hold going forward.
Asked whether Aldrich’s identification as nonbinary will affect how they’re charged, Allen would only say that prosecutors will consider all possible options.
The attack has left the community reeling. The shooting began minutes before the beginning of Transgender Day of Remembrance and at a club that’s central to the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs. Authorities said earlier this week that they’re still investigating a possible motive for the shooting but that it has the “trappings of a hate crime.”
Days later, much remains unknown about the suspect.
Texas court records indicate Aldrich changed their name in 2015 to distance themself from their father and his criminal history. Records indicate Aaron Brink, who identified himself as Aldrich’s father in the name-changing petition, has been arrested in California and Arizona. In an appearance on a reality TV show several years ago, Brink said he went to prison for marijuana smuggling and was later arrested for assault.
A person with the same name as Aldrich was arrested in Colorado Springs in June 2021 after getting into a standoff with law enforcement and allegedly threatening their mother. Prosecutors and law enforcement have refused to comment on that case or confirm if the suspect in the Club Q shooting is the same person from the 2021 incident.
Allen again declined to answer questions about the 2021 incident after the advisement Wednesday.
There are no publicly available court or law enforcement records related to the 2021 arrest, suggesting the case was sealed. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said it can and likely will be unsealed. A coalition of news outlets, including The Post, filed a petition Monday asking that the 2021 case be made public.
Colorado Springs TV station KKTV reported that it had obtained court documents from the 2021 case that say the suspect spoke of plans to commit a mass shooting.
Aldrich was the apparent target of online harassment in 2015, and online forums mocked his arrest and shootings Tuesday. Officials have said they’re investigating Aldrich’s social media and online persona but have declined to release further details.
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