COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The suspect in a mass shooting at a well-known LGBTQ+ bar and nightclub that left five people dead appeared in court Wednesday, one day after being released from the hospital.
During the hearing, Judge Charlotte Ankeny set a first appearance court date for Anderson Lee Aldrich for Dec. 6 at 8:30 a.m. She also granted a motion by the defense to unseal the arrest warrant to the public defenders representing Aldrich for purposes of defense, while keeping the record sealed for other purposes.
The arrest warrant was sealed by court order following a motion filed Monday.
Aldrich was ordered held without bail. Aldrich faces five counts of murder and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.
Aldrich allegedly walked into Club Q shortly before midnight Saturday with a long rifle and opened fire, killing five and wounding 17.
Among the dead were Daniel Aston, 28, Derrick Rump, 38, Kelly Loving, 40, Ashley Paugh, 35, and Raymond Green Vance, 22.
Bar patrons subdued Aldrich, who was hospitalized for several days before being transferred to the El Paso County Jail.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers previously told USA Today that Club Q has been a safe haven for the LGBTQ-plus community members for 21 years. The shooting has “all the trappings of a hate crime,” but the investigation will determine the motive, Suthers said.
Hate crime charges would require proving that the shooter was motivated by bias, such as against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The charges against Aldrich are preliminary, and prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges.
Aldrich is represented by Joseph Archambault, a chief trial deputy with the state public defender’s office. Lawyers from the office do not comment on cases to the media.
In a motion filed Tuesday demanding bond and a preliminary hearing, the public defenders representing Aldrich noted that Aldrich identifies as nonbinary.
In 2021, Aldrich was arrested after their mother reported that they threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons, police said. Though authorities at the time said no explosives were found, gun control advocates are asking why police didn’t try to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law, which would have allowed authorities to seize the weapons his mother says Aldrich had.
El Paso County District Attorney Michael J. Allen said the state has “very restrictive sealing laws” pertaining to cases that have been dismissed. There’s no public record that prosecutors charged Aldrich in that incident, so a red flag law would not apply.
Aldrich was known as Nicholas Franklin Brink until 2016. Weeks before turning 16, Aldrich petitioned a Texas court for a name change, court records show. A petition for the name change was submitted on Brink’s behalf by their grandparents, who were their legal guardians at the time.
“Minor wishes to protect himself and his future from any connections to birth father and his criminal history. Father has had no contact with minor for several years,” said the petition filed in Bexar County, Texas.
Contributing: The Associated Press.