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Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooter pleads guilty to death of five

Gunman pleads guilty in attack that killed five at Club Q

Gunman pleads guilty in attack that killed five at Club Q


victims called Colorado Springs shooting incident The “monster” hunted down LGBTQ+ patrons last year in a calculated raid that left five dead and 17 injured, with the suspect facing a possible life sentence after pleading guilty to murder and other charges on Monday. had a nature.

Anderson Lee Aldrich He pleaded guilty to five counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder. Aldrich also did not contest two hate crimes, one felony and one misdemeanor.

“There are no humans sitting in this courtroom, they are monsters,” said Jessica Fierro, whose daughter’s boyfriend was killed that night. “The devil is waiting with his open arms.”

The guilty plea comes just seven months after the shooting, saving victims’ families and survivors a potentially lengthy and painful trial.

A photo of a gay nightclub shooting victim on display at a memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado, November 23, 2022.
A photo of a gay nightclub shooting victim on display at a memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado, November 23, 2022.

RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The courtroom wiped away tears as Judge Michael McHenry explained the charges and read the names of the victims. Relatives and friends of the victims were able to make statements in remembrance of their loved ones in court, and survivors were told just before midnight on November 19 that the suspect walked into Club Q with an AR-15 gun. They talked about how firing indiscriminately changed their lives forever. semi-automatic rifle.

Club Q’s bartender’s father said Daniel Aston was in the prime of his life when he was shot dead. “He was a great light in this world that was extinguished by an act of heinous, evil and despicable,” said Jeff Aston. “You’ll never hear him laugh at his father’s jokes again.”

Danielle Aston’s mother, Sabrina, was among those who said she did not condone the crime.

Another forgave the shooter without forgiving the crime.

Aston partner Wyatt Kent said: “I forgive this person because he is a symbol of a broken system and of the hatred and bitterness that has been forced upon us as a community.” “The joy for me is that this hurt person will never see the joy and light that has resulted in our community.”

In addition to the Aston, the shooting victims were: Identified Kelly Loving, Derrick Lampe, Ashley Poe, Raymond Green Vance and others.

The shooter’s body trembled slightly as victims and family members spoke. Defendant also occasionally looked down at a screen displaying the victim’s photo.

Aldrich told the judge that he had “deliberately and intentionally caused the death of each victim.”

The guilty plea comes after a series of jail calls from the shooter to the Associated Press, where he expressed remorse and intention to face the consequences of the shooting.

Several survivors told The Associated Press about the plea bargain after being approached about the shooter’s comments. They said prosecutors had informed that the non-binary shooter, who uses “they” and “them” as pronouns, would plead guilty to a life sentence.

The shooter was initially charged in more than 300 states, including murder and hate crimes. A senior law enforcement official familiar with the case, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity about the ongoing case, said the U.S. Department of Justice is considering pursuing federal hate crime charges.

A line to get past security snaked through the large square outside the courthouse early Monday morning as victims and others lined up to attend the hearing. One man wore a T-shirt that read, “Always love, never forget.”

The Club Q attack comes more than a year after the shooter was arrested for threatening his grandparents and vowing to be the “next mass murderer.” In June 2021, the shooter’s grandparents told authorities they had been warned not to interfere with plans to stockpile guns, ammunition, body armor and homemade bombs. The shooter was then arrested after a standoff with SWAT officers, which was live-streamed on Facebook.

However, according to court documents unsealed after the shooting, the mother and grandparents of the victim, Aldrich, refused to cooperate with prosecutors and evaded efforts to submit subpoenas to testify, so the gunman’s arrest was made. The charges were dropped in July 2022.

Xavier Claus, who was once a neighbor, told CBS Colorado The suspect said he recovered the gun after the 2021 incident.

“At that time, too, we talked about expressing my fear of guns,” Krause said. “He tried to tell me, ‘It’s not the guns you should be afraid of, it’s the people behind the guns.'”

Other relatives told a judge that the shooter was given $30,000 to cover most of the cost of buying a 3D printer to paint an unemployed, isolated and violent person and make a gun. He said he was worried that he might harm his grandparents if he did. A record was shown.

The shooter was later released, and authorities kept two guns confiscated at the time of his arrest: a Ghost Gun pistol and an MM15 rifle. But there was nothing to stop the shooter from legally purchasing more firearms, and immediately after the shooting, authorities may have had to seek red-handed orders to prevent such purchases. A question arose.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said it could not seek a court order to stop the shooter from buying or possessing a gun because his 2021 arrest record was sealed after the charges were dropped. The sheriff’s office said there was no new evidence available to prove Aldrich poses a threat “in the near future.”

Investigators later determined that the two guns (a rifle and a handgun) the attackers were carrying during the Club Q attack were ghost guns, i.e. home-made firearms without serial numbers that did not require a background check on their owners. It revealed that.

In one of his interviews from prison, the shooter told the AP that he was on “very large amounts of drugs” and was abusing steroids at the time of the attack. However, he did not respond directly to the hate crime allegations. When asked if the attacks were motivated by hate, Aldrich said only “totally off the mark.” The shooter’s lawyers also don’t dispute Aldrich’s role in the shooting, but they also don’t blame it on hate.

Some survivors who heard the recorded calls viewed the shooter’s comments as an attempt to avoid the death penalty that still exists in the federal system. Colorado abolished this in 2020, and the state now requires life in prison without prison for first-degree murder. They objected to the shooter’s reluctance to talk about his motives and the use of passive, generic language such as “I can’t believe what happened” and “I wish I could turn back time.” bottom.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anderson-lee-aldrich-pleads-guilty-colorado-springs-club-q-shooting/ Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooter pleads guilty to death of five

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