Colorado Club Q shooting: Attacker sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty
After pleading guilty to murder and attempted murder, the attacker who killed five people at an LGBT nightclub in Colorado last year was sentenced to life in prison.
In the aftermath of the rampage at Club Q in Colorado Springs on 19 November 2022, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 23, was called a “coward” and a “monster” by the victims.
Until the police arrived, clubgoers subdued the attacker and stopped the shooting.
As a result of the attack, 17 others were injured.
Daniel Aston, 28, Derrick Rump, 38, Kelly Loving, 40, Ashley Paugh, 34, and Raymond Vance, 22, were killed.
In addition to pleading “no contest” to bias-motivated crimes, the attacker was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, along with 46 consecutive 48-year sentences.
Judge Michael McHenry said that when you commit a hate crime, you are targeting some people because of their simple existence. “This court will not tolerate such hate.”
McHenry added that Aldrich’s actions “reflect the depths of human malice”.
It’s almost always ignorance and fear that leads to malice,” Judge McHenry said.
A six-minute horror film
Following the plea, some victims’ family members addressed the court.
There is nothing human about this thing sitting in this courtroom, only a monster,” said Jessica Fierro, whose daughter Kassandra was injured and her daughter’s boyfriend Raymond was killed.
There is an open door for the devil.”
According to Sabrina Aston, whose late son Daniel was one of Club Q’s bartenders, “I will never forgive you.”
As Daniel’s partner Wyatt Kent put it, Aldrich was “a symbol of a broken system, of hate and vitriol aimed at us as a community”.
It brings me joy knowing that this hurt individual will never be able to see the joy and light that has been wrought into our community.
Aldrich’s mother, Adriana Vance, said her son “doesn’t deserve to continue. Now, what matters is that he will never see either sunrise or sunset.”
Before the sentencing, Aldrich declined to speak to the court and showed no emotion during the statements by the families.
Lawyers for the attacker, who describes himself as non-binary, asked the court on Monday to use the gender-neutral honorific Mx.
Aldrich’s defense attorney said the defendant is deeply sorry for what he has done and that he knows there is nothing he can do to make it right.
During a recent interview with the Associated Press, Aldrich said they felt the need to “take responsibility”. At the time, they claimed to be taking “a wide variety of drugs.”
During the judge’s inquiry on Monday, Aldrich said they remain on a variety of medications, including mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.
According to District Attorney Michael Allen, Aldrich’s version of the event was “self-serving” and “disgusting”.
The evidence indicates Aldrich planned and premeditated for months, including evading background checks and communicating a hatred for minorities and LGBTQ+ individuals.
According to Mr Allen, the victims were targeted for who they were. There will be no tolerance for targeting groups.
As a result of Richard Fierro’s tackle on the attacker, the six-minute shooting was ended.
Drag show performers pummeled Aldrich with high heels as Mr Fierro wrestled Aldrich on the ground.
He called Mr Aldrich a “terrorist” who “brought combat” to innocent members of Club Q on Monday.
I had more respect for my adversaries overseas than I do for this individual, he said. It is my hope that the words I yelled into your head that night echo in your mind forever.”
In June 2021, Aldrich was arrested after threatening to blow up a bomb and harm their mother.
Aldrich remained a public danger despite relatives warning the judge that charges would be dropped.