Club Q Shooter Spared Death Penalty

A vigil for the victims of the Club Q shooting in Colorado. Photo via Club Q Colorado Springs, Facebook.

More than 50 federal hate crime violations have been tacked on to charges against the perpetrator of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 23, pleaded guilty to state murder charges last year and was sentenced to more than 2,000 years in prison. On Nov. 19, 2022, Aldrich entered the LGBTQ nightclub armed with a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire, killing five people and injuring 19 others. 

The Justice Department announced the additional hate crime charges on Jan. 16, stopping short of seeking the death penalty.

“The United States is not seeking the death penalty in this case,” court documents read. “The parties have agreed that multiple concurrent life sentences plus a consecutive sentence of 190 years imprisonment is sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve the goals of criminal justice.”

The FBI said the shooting was “deliberate, malicious and premeditated” and victims were targeted due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The attack ended when Aldrich, wearing a tactical vest with ballistic plates, was forcibly stopped by three patrons — a Navy officer, an Army veteran and a transgender woman. The trio disarmed and held the shooter until Colorado Springs police arrived. 

In court documents, Aldrich is identified as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, although the sincerity of this statement has been questioned. 

Aldrich was moved to a Wyoming prison last year due to threats against them. 

Five months after the tragedy, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed four new gun control bills into law. The new laws raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, imposed a three-day waiting period for purchases, expanded the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law and simplified the process for gun violence survivors to sue the gun industry.


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