(CN) — Colorado Springs homicide detectives testified in court on Wednesday about the investigation of a suspect charged with murdering five at an LGBTQ club this past November.
After closing arguments, to be held Thursday, 4th Judicial District Judge Michael McHenry will determine whether prosecutors presented enough evidence to send 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich to trial on 316 charges, including first degree murder, attempted murder, serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon and bias motivated crime, colloquially referred to as hate crime.
Authorities say Aldrich killed five people and injured 22 others during a dance party at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, 70 miles south of Denver. The shooting occurred Nov. 19, the evening before Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors those who have suffered violence.
Aldrich is being held without bail and faces up to life in prison without parole. Colorado repealed the death penalty in 2020.
On behalf of Aldrich, Colorado public defender Joseph Archambault made several requests for the hearing to be continued, which were consistently denied by Judge McHenry.
Detectives with the Colorado Springs Police Department found Aldrich had attended Club Q at least six times prior to the shooting, and had drawn a map of the layout. In October, a receipt indicated Aldrich was served by bartender Derrick Rump, 38, who would be one of the five killed in November.
Kelly Loving, 40, Daniel Aston, 28, Ashley Paugh, 35, and Raymond Green Vance, 22, also died during the attack. Seventeen others suffered gunshot wounds. Law enforcement credit two bystanders, Thomas James and Richard Fierro, with disarming and holding Aldrich down until police arrived.
Rebecca Joines, the Colorado Springs homicide detective leading the investigation, described Aldrich’s obsession with homicide. Aldrich ran a website titled FreeSpeechTube.RU where they posted a video Joines described as a “Neo-Nazi white supremacist shooting training type video.”
Joines speculated Aldrich was paying homage to the video when they posted clips of themself in the parking lot before attacking the nightclub. Aldrich identifies as nonbinary and uses the pronouns they and them.
She also cited analysis from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives of a handgun and AR-style rifle used in the attack. The agency says Aldrich used “ghost guns” that had been assembled with parts purchased from different places.
While they were being treated at a hospital for wound sustained from being disarmed, Aldrich told medical staff they had taken Adderall, Xanax and cocaine before the attack. They told investigators they hadn’t slept in four days.
In 2021, Aldrich was charged with felony menacing and first-degree kidnapping after claiming to be building a bomb and desiring to become a mass shooter. The criminal complaint was originally sealed when the charges were dismissed last August just three months before the Club Q attack.
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