Anderson Lee Aldrich, the suspect accused of a mass shooting at the LGBTQ+ bar Club Q in November 2022, pleaded guilty on Monday to five counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder. Aldrich, who identifies as nonbinary according to their lawyers, admitted to the charges during the court proceedings, as reported by ABC News.
Judge Michael McHenry sentenced Aldrich to five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murder charges. Additionally, they will serve 46 consecutive 48-year sentences for the attempted murder counts.
Authorities had revealed that Aldrich, a 22-year-old, was responsible for operating a “neo-Nazi white supremacist website” that promoted videos glorifying mass shootings at mosques. Court documents, unsealed in December, unveiled Aldrich’s alleged plans to become the “next mass killer.”
In June 2021, Aldrich engaged in a prolonged standoff with law enforcement while barricaded inside their mother’s residence, as previously reported by the Associated Press. According to Colorado’s red flag law, either law enforcement or Aldrich’s family could have sought a judge’s order to restrict their access to firearms. However, no such request was made. The incident prompted Colorado Governor Jared Polis to express his intention to scrutinize the red flag law and examine its application in this case.
When news emerged earlier in July regarding a possible plea deal for Aldrich, Club Q issued a statement on Instagram expressing support for a swift resolution.
“It’s quite evident that the defendant deserves to live life in prison without the possibility of parole, and we look forward to having justice delivered,” the statement read.
Club Q, the targeted establishment, recently announced plans to reopen. In a February Instagram post, the club emphasized its commitment to creating a safe space for the Colorado Springs LGBTQIA+ community. To aid in the rebuilding efforts, Club Q has partnered with HB&A, a woman-owned architecture firm based in Colorado Springs. The revamped venue will include a tribute honoring the five individuals who lost their lives during the tragic shooting. Club Q owner Matthew Haynes highlighted the club’s significance in Colorado Springs’ queer history and expressed gratitude to those who have supported the reopening initiative. Haynes stated, “We look forward to being able to gather as one community again.”