Anderson Lee Aldrich, who is accused of killing five people and wounding numerous others in a mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGTBQ+ club over the weekend, made their first appearance in court on Wednesday.
Police are still investigating the massacre and the motive behind it, but the 22-year-old faces five preliminary charges of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.
In a brief hearing, Aldrich could be seen wearing an orange prison uniform, and a judge decided the alleged shooter would remain in county jail without bond.
Aldrich, whose attorneys say they identify as nonbinary and use they/them pronouns, allegedly entered Club Q with an AR-style assault rifle and a handgun and killed Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump.
At least 19 others were injured, according to police.
Formal charges are expected in the coming days, as police continue to investigate the motive behind the shooting.
Richard Fierro, an Army veteran celebrating his birthday in the club with family and friends, said he recognised that the shooter was wearing a flak vest and proceeded to run across the room, grab it, and pull the Aldrich to the floor.
Another person helped Mr Fierro bring Aldrich to the ground and he told them to push the AR-15 rifle away.
The shooting has raised questions about how Aldrich was allegedly able to access a gun.
Last year, they were arrested for felony menacing and first degree kidnapping, after their mother alleged they threatened her with homemade bombs and other weapons.
Nonetheless, the weapons used in the shooting were purchased legally, even though Colorado has universal background checks which bar people with felony or domestic violence convictions from buying guns.
The state also has a “red flag” law, which allows citizens and police officers to petition a judge for an “extreme risk protection order” (ERPO) against any gun owner they believe to pose an imminent danger to themselves or others.
In the wake of the tragedy, officials like far-right Republican Lauren Boebert, US representative for Colorado, have been criticised for normalising attacks on LGTBQ+ people.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the MAGA Republican and her allies “played a major role in elevating anti-LGBT+ hate rhetoric and anti-trans lies while spending your time in Congress blocking even the most common sense gun safety laws.”
Ms Boebert has offered her condolences after the massacre, writing on Twitter that “the victims and their families are in my prayers. This lawless violence needs to end and end quickly.”