Colorado Club murder suspect held without bail

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Colorado Club murder suspect held without bail
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The man facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was sentenced to detention without bail in an initial court appearance on Wednesday when the suspect was sat slouched in a chair.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, could be seen with visible injuries to his face and head in a brief video appearance from prison. Aldrich appeared to need prompting from defense attorneys and offered a confused response when asked to say his name by El Paso County Court Judge Charlotte Ankeny.

The suspect was beaten by patrons during Saturday night’s shooting at Club Q and was released from hospital on Tuesday. The motive for the shooting was still under investigation, but authorities said Aldrich faces possible murder and hate crime charges.

Hate crime charges would require proof that the shooter was motivated by bias, such as against the victims’ real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The charges against Aldrich are preliminary and prosecutors have yet to file formal charges.

Defense attorneys said Tuesday night that the suspect was non-binary and in court documents the suspect was referred to as “Mx. Aldrich.” The lawyers’ footnotes claim that Aldrich is non-binary and uses the pronouns them/them.

Prosecutor Michael Allen repeatedly referred to the suspect as “he” during a press briefing after the hearing and said the suspect’s gender status would not change the case in his view. Allen said Aldrich was “physically competent” to press charges.

Ankeny has set the next hearing for December 6.

Of 17 people injured by bullets in the attack, 11 remained hospitalized Wednesday night, officials said.

Photographs of the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub look at a table laid with free flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of a mass shooting over the weekend at a gay nightclub on November 23, 2022 , in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Aldrich’s name was changed more than six years ago when he was a teenager, after he filed a lawsuit in Texas seeking ‘protection’ from a father with a criminal history, including domestic violence against Aldrich’s mother.

Aldrich was known as Nicholas Franklin Brink until 2016. Weeks before he turned 16, Aldrich successfully petitioned a Texas court to change his name, court records show. A petition for the name change was submitted on Brink’s behalf by his legal guardians at the time.

“The minor wishes to protect himself and his future from any connection to his biological father and his criminal history. The father has had no contact with the minor for several years,” says the petition filed in Bexar County, Texas. .

The suspect’s father, Aaron Brink, is a mixed martial arts fighter and pornographic artist with an extensive criminal history, including assault convictions against the alleged shooter’s mother, Laura Voepel, both before and after. the suspect’s birth, according to state and federal court records. . A 2002 misdemeanor battery conviction in California resulted in a protective order that initially barred Aaron Brink from contacting the suspect or Voepel except through an attorney, but was later amended to allow visits supervised with the child.

Aaron Brink told San Diego CBS affiliate KFMB-TV that he was shocked to learn of Aldrich’s alleged involvement. He said his first reaction was to wonder why Aldrich was in a gay bar. Brink said he didn’t have much contact with his child but taught them how to fight, “praising” Aldrich for his violent behavior at an early age. He added that he was sorry for letting Aldrich down. Brink said “there’s no excuse to go kill people. If you kill people, there’s something wrong. That’s not the answer.”

Handwritten Messages Cover The Heart Attached To The Cross To Honor A Victim Of The Gay Nightclub Mass Shooting At A Makeshift Memorial Near The Crime Scene November 23, 2022, In Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Handwritten messages cover the heart attached to the cross to honor a victim of the gay nightclub mass shooting at a makeshift memorial near the crime scene November 23, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Local and federal authorities declined to say why hate crime charges were being considered. District Attorney Michael Allen noted that murder charges would carry the harshest sentence — life in prison — while bias crimes are eligible for probation. He also said it was important to show the community that bias-motivated crimes are not tolerated.

Aldrich was arrested last year after their mother reported that her child threatened her with a pipe bomb and other weapons, police say. Doorbell video obtained by The Associated Press shows Aldrich arriving at their mother’s front door with a large black bag on the day of the 2021 bomb threat, telling her that police were nearby and adding: “This is where I stand. Today I die.”

Authorities at the time said no explosives were found, but gun control advocates question why police didn’t use Colorado’s ‘red flag’ laws to seize the guns that Aldrich allegedly held.

Allen declined to answer questions related to the 2021 bomb threat after Wednesday’s hearing.

The weekend assault took place at a nightclub known as a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in this mostly conservative city of about 480,000 people about 110 miles south of Denver.

A longtime Club Q patron who was shot dead said the club’s reputation made him a target. In a video statement, Ed Sanders said he was thinking about what he would do in a mass shooting after the 2016 massacre of 49 people at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida.

“I think this incident underscores the fact that LGBT people need to be loved,” Sanders, 63, said. “I want to be resilient. I’m a survivor. I’m not going to be taken away by a sick person.”

Authorities said Aldrich used a long gun and was arrested by two club patrons, including Richard Fierro, who told reporters he took a handgun from Aldrich, hit them with it and shot them. stuck with the help of another person until the police arrived.

The victims were Raymond Green Vance, 22, a Colorado Springs native who was saving money for his own apartment; Ashley Paugh, 35, a mother who helped find homes for adopted children; Daniel Aston, 28, who had worked at the club as a bartender and entertainer; Kelly Loving, 40, whose sister described her as “caring and sweet”, and Derrick Rump, 38, another club bartender known for his wit.

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