Colorado Club Q shooter pleads guilty to 50 federal hate crimes

The shooter who killed five people and injured 19 more at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub pleaded guilty to 50 federal hate crime charges Tuesday.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 24, who uses they/them pronouns, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty last June to state murder charges.

Aldrich entered the guilty plea deal with prosecutors that allows them to avoid the death penalty and instead be sentenced to more life sentences for the hate crimes and a total of 190 years on gun charges and other counts, The Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors argue that Aldrich targeted the Club Q in Colorado Springs, a mostly conservative city, because it served as a sanctuary and gathering place for the city’s LGBTQ community. They argue it was a premeditated shooting fueled by bias.

Defense attorneys said Aldrich was high on cocaine and medication at the time of the shooting. In a call with the AP last year, Aldrich said it was “completely off base” that the shooting was motivated by hate.

The AP previously noted that Aldrich expressed remorse and understood they would face consequences.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said Aldrich entered the club on Nov. 19, 2022, and began firing with a loaded assault rifle as part of a “malicious” attack.

Just before the shooting, Aldrich coordinated a spam email campaign against a former work supervisor who is gay. They spent more than $9,000 on weapons between September 2020 and the 2022 shooting. Investigators found a hand drawn map of the club marked with entry and exit points and training material for active shooter situations, the AP reported.

The shooting was stopped by a Navy officer who grabbed Aldrich’s rifle and an Army veteran who subdued them before police arrived.

Aldrich was previously arrested in June 2021, accused of threatening their grandparents and vowing to become the “next mass killer.” Their family did not cooperate with the case, and it was dismissed.

The Associated Press contributed.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.