Colorado Springs taking pictures suspect in custody, formal fees pending By Reuters


© Reuters. Jey Swisher embraces fellow mourners as they react after a mass taking pictures on the Membership Q homosexual nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., November 20, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt


By Kevin Mohatt

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) -A Colorado man was underneath arrest on Monday after police mentioned he fatally shot 5 individuals and injured 25 others inside an LGBTQ nightclub over the weekend earlier than two “heroes” rushed him and stopped the assault.

Colorado Springs police recognized the suspect as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who was taken into custody early Sunday after the assault at Membership Q, an evening spot patronized by homosexual, lesbian and transgender individuals in Colorado’s second-largest metropolis. Police mentioned they’d but to find out a motive for the taking pictures.

A state choose sealed court docket information associated to the arrest till prosecutors end the investigation, in keeping with a court docket submitting in El Paso County, the place Colorado Springs is positioned.

Native media reported that Aldrich was charged with counts of first-degree homicide and bias crimes however a court docket official mentioned that formal fees had but to be filed.

Aldrich was hospitalized and has not made any statements to investigators, Colorado Springs Deputy Police Chief Adrian Vasquez informed CNN on Monday. Police will maintain a information briefing by midday native time (1900 GMT).

A number of firearms had been discovered on the scene of the temporary assault, in keeping with police, who mentioned Aldrich used a “lengthy rifle” to shoot his victims.

The taking pictures – which Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers mentioned “had all of the appearances of being a hate crime” – recalled the 2016 Pulse membership bloodbath when a gunman killed 49 individuals on the homosexual nightclub in Orlando, Florida, earlier than he was fatally shot by police.

Aldrich was recognized to regulation enforcement earlier than the nightclub taking pictures. He was arrested in June 2021 after his mom reported to authorities that he had threatened to detonate a bomb and hurt her with a number of weapons, in keeping with a press launch from the sheriff’s workplace in El Paso County.

Sheriff’s deputies evacuated about 10 close by houses till Aldrich finally surrendered. They discovered no explosives however Aldrich was booked into the county jail on two counts of “felony menacing” and three counts of “first-degree kidnapping,” the press launch mentioned. It was unclear when and the way he was launched.

Leslie Bowman, 41, an account supervisor in Colorado Springs who rented out the room the place Aldrich’s mom was dwelling on the time of the 2021 incident, mentioned these fees in opposition to Aldrich had not been pursued.

Bowman described Aldrich as a heavy-set man, greater than six ft tall, who not often smiled and had an imposing air.

“After I heard it was him who did the taking pictures, I used to be shocked however not shocked on the identical time – simply understanding what he did earlier than,” she informed Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.


Police mentioned a minimum of two individuals in Membership Q subdued the gunman shortly after he burst in simply earlier than midnight on Saturday, stopping additional carnage, however didn’t establish them.

One of many patrons grabbed a handgun from the shooter and pistol-whipped him with it, and was nonetheless on prime of the suspect, pinning him down, when police arrived, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers informed The New York Occasions.

“It was fairly one thing. It occurred fairly rapidly. This particular person was completely disabled by 12:02. That had lots to do with the intervention of those patrons,” Suthers informed the Occasions.

One of many two patrons who subdued the suspect suffered non-life-threatening accidents and was hospitalized, in keeping with Vasquez. The opposite particular person was not injured, he mentioned.

Colorado Lawyer Normal Phil Weiser in an interview on CNN on Monday famous that the taking pictures came about on Transgender Remembrance Day and mentioned he hoped Aldrich would give investigators solutions.

“He was taken alive and there will probably be a full investigation, and regulation enforcement authorities are going to be working to ensure to convey justice to honor the victims,” Weiser mentioned.


Ashley Paugh, 35, of La Junta, Colorado, was one of many 5 killed on the membership. She was capping off a day journey to Colorado Springs with a pal, her sister Stephanie Clark informed NBC Information. She leaves behind a husband and 11-year-old daughter,

Paugh, who was not a part of the LGBTQ group, had been procuring and had dinner and anticipated to see a humorist carry out on the membership, her sister mentioned.

One other sufferer was recognized as Daniel Aston, 28, a transgender man and bartender on the membership who additionally carried out in reveals as a dancer, in keeping with a Colorado Public Radio interview together with his mom, Sabrina Aston.

“He was the happiest he had ever been,” Sabrina Aston mentioned. “He was thriving and having enjoyable and having mates. It is simply unbelievable. He had a lot extra life to present to us and to all to his mates and to himself.”

Nervousness inside many LGBTQ communities in the US has risen amid a divisive political local weather and after a string of threats and violent incidents concentrating on LGBTQ individuals and occasions in current months.

Colorado has a grim historical past of mass violence, together with the 1999 taking pictures at Columbine Excessive Faculty, a 2012 rampage inside a movie show in a Denver suburb and a grocery store assault that killed 10 individuals final yr.

Colorado Springs suffered a mass taking pictures in 2015 when an anti-abortion gunman killed three individuals and injured 9 at a Deliberate Parenthood facility.

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