By Holly Matkin and Sandy Malone
Colorado Springs, CO – The suspect accused of murdering five people and wounding 17 more at the Club Q LGBTQ+ nightclub last month was charged with 305 criminal counts on Tuesday.
The charges against Aldrich include 10 counts of first-degree murder, 86 counts of attempted first-degree murder, and 48 counts of bias motivated crime, among others, according to The Gazette.
“At least to my knowledge, I think it’s probably the most charges that we’ve ever filed in a single case, on a murder case like this in the state of Colorado,” Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said during a press conference after the hearing on Tuesday, according to NBC News.
He further noted that he hopes the hundreds of charges filed against Aldrich convey a message to the public that his office is taking the case very seriously, USA Today reported.
“We’re not going to tolerate actions against community members based on sexual identity,” Allen said. “Members of that community have been harassed, intimidated and abused for too long.”
Being convicted of just one of the murder charges he faces could land Aldrich in prison for life without the possibility of parole, NBC News reported.
A two-day preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 22, 2023.
Aldrich will remain incarcerated at the El Paso County Jail without bond in the meantime, according to The Gazette.
Some customers were able to flee through exit doors, but many were trapped inside the nightclub.
Two brave patrons inside the bar ultimately rushed the gunman, took his weapon, and beat him up with it, KRDO reported.
In addition to the five victims who were murdered and the 17 who were wounded by gunfire, five other victims suffered injuries that did not involve gunshot wounds, NBC News reported.
Twelve more victims suffered no visible injuries, according to investigators.
Officers took the shooter into custody at 12:02 a.m., KRDO reported.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said the brave patrons who intervened and disarmed the mass shooter saved countless lives, according to the Associated Press.
The victims killed in the attack have been identified as 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance, 35-year-old Ashley Paugh, 40-year-old Kelly Loving, 38-year-old Derrick Rump, and 28-year-old Daniel Aston, USA Today reported.
In a court on Nov. 22, attorneys for the mass shooter referred to their client as “Mx. Aldrich,” and noted the defendant was nonbinary and preferred they/them pronouns, NBC News reported.
Family members said they found that claim surprising given anti-gay comments they had heard Aldrich make.
Police records showed that 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich was arrested in June of 2021 after he threatened his mother with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” NBC News reported.
Video obtained by CNN showed Aldrich ranting about police and challenging them to try and breach the home.
“I’ve got the f-king s-theads outside, look at that, they’ve got a bead on me,” Aldrich said in the video, pointing the camera at the window.
“You see that right there?” he asked. “F-king sh-theads got their f–king rifles out.”
“If they breach, Imma f-king blow it to holy hell,” the future mass killer warned in the video, according to CNN.
The video inside the house showed Aldrich challenging police to come and get him.
“So, uh, go ahead and come on in, boys! Let’s f-king see it!” he said.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said its crisis negotiation unit responded to the residence and, after several hours, was able to get the suspect to leave the house, CNN reported.
Surveillance video from the front of the home showed Aldrich surrendering to law enforcement officers with his hands in the air.
Authorities searched the residence and did not find a bomb but it was unclear whether deputies found any weapons belonging to Aldrich inside the home.
Deputies arrested Aldrich at the scene on two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping and booked him into the El Paso County Jail, CNN reported.
However, the district attorney’s office never pursued any formal charges against Aldrich in connection with the threats or the standoff.
Prosecutors have not given a reason for why the case was not pursued.
Because the case involving the bomb threat and standoff was never adjudicated, the charges were dropped and the records were sealed.
It was unclear why the records were sealed.