(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — The 22-year-old who is suspected of gunning down multiple people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado’s second-largest city has been moved from the hospital to the local jail, police announced Tuesday.
The suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was allegedly beaten by people inside the bar after opening fire, is being held without bond on 10 “arrest only” charges: five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, according to online court records. However, those charges “are only preliminary,” according to Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen, who serves El Paso and Teller counties.
“There have been reports that charges have been filed. That is not true,” Allen said at a press conference Monday. “Any case like this, an arrest warrant will be written up that is supported by probable cause affidavit and that will be submitted to a judge for approval of the arrest of a suspect. That has occurred here in this case.”
“Any charges associated with an arrest warrant are only preliminary charges,” he added. “Very customary that final charges may be different than what’s in the arrest affidavit. Typically, there will be more charges than what is listed in the arrest affidavit. So don’t be surprised when you see a different list of charges when we finally file formal charges with the court.”
The Colorado state public defender wrote in court filings released Tuesday that Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, and “will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich” in formal filings.
Aldrich is expected to have their first court appearance on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. local time, court records show. Allen told ABC News the appearance is to let Aldrich know the charges they’re facing and advise them on the no bond status.
The appearance will be done via video link from jail, according to the district attorney.
“Within a few days of that first appearance is when we will return to the courtroom and file formal charges with the court,” he added.
Aldrich allegedly began shooting a long gun as soon as they entered Club Q in Colorado Springs late Saturday night. At least five people were killed and 17 others were wounded by the gunshots, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department, which named the deceased victims as Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump and Raymond Green Vance.
Police said “two heroes” — identified as Thomas James and Richard Fierro — confronted Aldrich and fought with them, stopping the suspect from shooting more people. Officers responded to the scene and detained Aldrich just after midnight, less than six minutes after the first 911 call came in, according to police. Aldrich sustained “significant” but non-life-threatening injuries, Allen told ABC News.
Fierro, who served in the military, said he grabbed the suspect’s pistol from them and beat them. Fierro’s daughter’s boyfriend was among the five killed.
President Joe Biden spoke to Fierro to offer his condolences and thank “him for his bravery,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing Tuesday.
The El Paso County district court has sealed the arrest warrant and supporting documentation connected with Aldrich’s arrest. According to the motion by prosecutors, if the records were “released, it could jeopardize the ongoing case investigation.”
In June 2021, Aldrich was arrested in an alleged bomb threat incident after their mother alerted authorities that they were “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” according to a press release posted online last year by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. While no explosives were found in his possession, Aldrich was booked into the El Paso County Jail on two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, according to the sheriff’s office.
Aldrich’s 2021 arrest may not have appeared on background checks because the case does not appear to have been adjudicated, officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News.
ABC News and other news organizations have petitioned the court in Colorado to unseal the records regarding Aldrich’s 2021 arrest.
Allen told ABC News on Tuesday that after the suspect has their first court appearance, the DA will appeal to have Aldrich’s sealed 2021 records opened next week.
Colorado’s red flag law, which went into effect in 2020, allows relatives, household members and law enforcement to ask a judge to order the seizure of a gun owner’s weapons if that owner is believed to be a risk to themself or others. It’s unclear whether that law would have stopped the suspect from targeting Club Q, according to El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, who did not recall the circumstances surrounding Aldrich’s 2021 arrest when asked by ABC News.
Club Q has been serving the Colorado Springs community for two decades and was considered a safe haven for LGBTQ people. The nightspot hosts a weekly drag show and live DJ on Saturday nights, according to its website.
Club Q co-owner Nic Grzecka told ABC News that Aldrich was a stranger to their long-established venue.
“He’s never spent money on a credit card or ID ever scanned in our business that we know of,” Grzecka said in an interview on Sunday. “I think this was a community of target for him.”
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told ABC News that the suspect “had considerable ammo” and “was extremely well armed” when they allegedly walked into Club Q. While a motive remains under investigation, Suthers said “it has the trappings of a hate crime.”
“But we’re going to have to see what the investigation shows in terms of, you know, social media and things like that to make a clear determination exactly what the motive was,” the mayor said in an interview on Monday.
ABC News’ Matt Gutman, Irving Last, Josh Margolin, Alyssa Pone, Tonya Simpson, Stephanie Wash, Robert Zepeda and Ashley Riegel contributed to this report.
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