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Club Q shooting suspect charged with 305 counts, with more possible

Twenty-two-year-old Anderson Aldrich stands accused of killing five and injuring more than a dozen at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19.

(CN) — Prosecutors in Colorado have charged the individual accused of murdering five people during a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in November with 305 counts, including first-degree murder and hate crimes.

Authorities say Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, killed five people and injured 17 others during a dance party at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, 70 miles south of Denver. The shooting occurred the evening before Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring those who have suffered violence.

El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen filed 10 counts of first-degree murder against Aldrich, five murder charges with intent and five with extreme indifference. The charges also include 86 counts of attempted first-degree murder, and 90 counts of assault along with 48 counts of bias-motivated crimes, colloquially referred to as hate crimes. More charges may be filed as more victims are identified.

“When you file 305 counts in a case, you are telling the county, the state and the nation we are taking this seriously,” Allen told press after the hearing. “We think there is enough evidence to carry bias-motivated charges and send the message we are not going to tolerate acts of violence against that community which has suffered enough.”

Allen declined to elaborate on the prosecution’s evidence or speculate about Aldrich’s motive.

Aldrich is being held without bail and faces up to life in prison without parole. Colorado repealed the death penalty in 2020.

Richard Fierro, a U.S. Army veteran who was attending Club Q's drag show with his family, saved lives when he helped tackle and restrain Aldrich on Nov. 19. Fierro's daughter's boyfriend, 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance, was killed during the attack.

Daniel Davis Aston, 28, Kelly Loving, 40, Ashley Paugh, 35, and Derrick Rump, 38, also died in the attack.

Aldrich's defense attorneys notified the court that Aldrich identifies as a nonbinary gender, using they/them pronouns and "Mx" instead of "Ms." or "Mr."

Although both prosecutors and defense preferred a date in May, Fourth Judicial District Judge Michael McHenry scheduled a preliminary hearing to begin Feb. 22.

The prosecution initially requested the arrest affidavit be sealed to allow investigators to gather evidence and inform victims' families. Judge McHenry ordered the arrest affidavit to be unsealed Wednesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the case alongside local law enforcement.

State public defender Joseph Archambault represented Aldrich, who appeared in a neon green jumpsuit, at Tuesday's hearing held in person at the El Paso County Judicial Building in Colorado Springs and streamed via WebEx.

On its Facebook page, Club Q management wrote, “Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prayers and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."

To date a GoFundMe page managed by Club Q has received $23,015 for victims and their families.

The Gun Violence Archive has tracked 41,218 gun deaths since the beginning of the year and 620 mass shootings. Per the Mass Killing Database, run by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks only incidents in which people have been killed, the U.S. has 41 mass killings in 2022.

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