NewsClub Q Shooting


Club Q shooter pleads not guilty to 74 federal charges in connection with Colorado Springs mass shooting

Posted at 3:36 PM, Jan 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 07:25:12-05

Denver7's Colette Bordelon contributed to this report.

DENVER — The Club Q shooter has pleaded not guilty to more than 70 federal charges, including hate crime acts and firearm violations.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 23, who was dressed in an orange jumpsuit, entered a not guilty plea to all 74 counts on Tuesday at a federal court in Denver. They are currently in state custody serving a state prison sentence.

On Nov. 19, 2022, Aldrich entered the LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs and opened fire on staff and patrons. Five people died and dozens more were injured in the attack. Aldrich was tackled to the ground and held until police arrived. The five people who died were identified as Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump. After pleading guilty to the murder and attempted murder charges, Aldrich was sentenced in June 2023 to five consecutive life sentences in the Colorado Department of Corrections without the possibility of parole. In addition, the judge issued 46 consecutive 48-year sentences — or 2,208 years — for the counts of first-degree attempted murder.

READ MORE: All Club Q shooting coverage from Denver7

On Tuesday, Judge Scott Varholak for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado read over the 74 federal charges against Aldrich, who appeared virtually:

  • Charges 1-5: Hate crime acts - use of a firearm or dangerous weapon to cause death
  • Charges 6-24: Hate crime acts - use of a firearm or dangerous weapon to willfully cause bodily injury and attempt to kill
  • Charges 25-50: Hate crime acts - use of a firearm or dangerous weapon to attempt to cause bodily injury and attempt to kill
  • Charges 51-55: Use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence to commit murder
  • Charges 56-74: Use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence

The defendant, represented by David Kraut with the federal public defender’s office, waived their right to an indictment, which are written documents presented by a grand jury. In this case, because the indictment is waived, the accusation will be presented by a competent public officer on their oath of office or a public prosecutor, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. (Aldrich uses they/them pronouns.)

A trial date is set to begin on Feb. 15, 2024, however the U.S. Attorney's Office said both parties told the court that "there is a plea agreement in this matter, and it is anticipated that the defendant has agreed to plead guilty to all charges in the information." The date for this has not yet been set.

These new charges against Aldrich come in the wake of an FBI investigation into the shooting.

ABC News confirmed that hate crime charges provide for sentences up to life imprisonment, and the gun crime charges carry sentences varying from a minimum of 10 years to death.

Aldrich never faced the death penalty in Colorado, as it was repealed by the governor in 2020. While, that is not the case for federal charges, ABC News confirmed that the United States is not seeking the death penalty in this case.

"This plea agreement, quite simply, holds the defendant accountable to the maximum extent possible under the law in the state of Colorado," District Attorney Michael J. Allen said on June 26, later adding, "There exists, for this case, only one death penalty option and that is at the federal level."

DA Allen said in June that he believed the federal system's death penalty was a major reason why the defendant took a guilty plea in the Colorado case.

"Part of that is that in the federal system, if you show substantial mitigation — so if you take full responsibility at the state level — that can sometimes avoid federal death sentence pursuit," he explained. "Whether that happens or not, again, is up to the federal U.S. Attorney's Office. But undoubtedly, both the fact that he decided to take a plea in this case, plus that idea that he was trying to mitigate the bias-motivated charges or the hate charges, I think really again strikes to his cowardice. He was willing to carry out the most horrific attacks on unsuspecting victims, and yet didn't have the courage to stand up and face the potential most serious sentence that he could possibly face."

In late October, Club Q management announced plans to reopen in a new location about four miles from its previous home. The club will reopen as The Q, located in the Satellite Hotel in Colorado Springs.

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“We will never be able to make those impacted by the shooting at Club Q whole, but we hope this new space can provide community healing,” management said in a press release. “We all have changed in so many ways, but we sincerely hope that the new venue can be a small part of rebuilding the Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ community.”

There are no plans to renovate the old building, management said. However, a memorial is planned near the original location.

Aldrich was moved to an out-of-state prison due to safety concerns in November. According to the Associated Press, he is now at the Wyoming State Penitentiary.

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