Club Q Mass Shooter Gets Life Sentence

Anderson Lee Aldrich killed 5 in attack on LGBTQ+ nightclub last year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2023 12:39 PM CDT
Updated Jun 26, 2023 2:40 PM CDT
Club Q Shooter Pleads Guilty to 51 Charges
Club Q, the LGBTQ venue that was the site of a deadly 2022 shooting that killed five people, is seen on Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Colorado Springs, Colo.   (AP Photo/Chet Strange)
UPDATE Jun 26, 2023 2:40 PM CDT

The person who killed five people at a Colorado Springs nightclub in 2022 was sentenced to life in prison on Monday, after victims called the shooter a "monster" and "coward" who hunted down revelers in a calculated attack on a sanctuary for the LGBTQ+ community. During an emotional courtroom hearing packed with victims and family members, Anderson Lee Aldrich pleaded guilty to five counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder—one for each person at Club Q on the night of the shooting, the AP reports. Aldrich also pleaded no contest to two hate crimes, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor. "This thing sitting in this court room is not a human, it is a monster," said Jessica Fierro, whose daughter's boyfriend was killed that night. "The devil awaits with open arms."

Jun 26, 2023 12:39 PM CDT

The suspect in a mass shooting that killed five people and injured 17 at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ nightclub last year has pleaded guilty in the attack. Monday's plea by Anderson Lee Aldrich comes just seven months after the shooting and spares victims' families and survivors a long and potentially painful trial. The plea entered during a court hearing follows a series of jailhouse phone calls from Aldrich to the AP expressing remorse and the intention to face the consequences for the shooting. Aldrich pleaded guilty to five counts of murder. The defendant faces life in prison on the murder charges under the plea agreement.

The agreement also calls for Aldrich to plead guilty to 46 counts of attempted murder and two counts of bias-motivated crime. Aldrich originally was charged with more than 300 state counts, including murder and hate crimes. After the guilty plea, attack survivors and relatives of victims started delivering victim impact statements, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports. "This man doesn't deserve to go on. What matters now, is that he never sees a sunrise, or a sunset," said Adriana Vance, the mother of 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance. A ldrich did not reveal a motivation and declined to address the court during the sentencing part of the hearing.

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"Just like that, my sister became a number," said Tiffany Loving, the sister of Kelly Loving, 40. "I refuse to let my sister be erased by horrific violence on the LGBTQ community." The US Justice Department is considering pursuing federal hate crime charges, according to a senior law enforcement official familiar with the matter who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing case. The attack at Club Q came over a year after Aldrich, who uses they-them pronouns, had been arrested for threatening their grandparents and vowing to become "the next mass killer." But charges were ultimately dropped in that case.

(More Club Q shooting stories.)

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