Club Q shooting: Colorado suspect faces 305 criminal counts

The suspect accused of killing five people inside an LGBT nightclub in Colorado has been charged with 305 criminal counts, including murder, hate crimes and assault.

The attacker, armed with a rifle and wearing body armour, opened fire in the Colorado Springs club last month.

Two men in Club Q were able to subdue the suspect until police arrived.

The victims were Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Vance.

About 20 others were injured in the attack.

On Tuesday, the 22-year-old suspect appeared in a Colorado court where all of the charges were read.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, who lawyers say identifies as non-binary and uses they and them pronouns, has been held without bond since the shooting. They have not entered a plea.

The charges against the suspect include multiple counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder, as well as hate crime charges.

Michael Allen, the District Attorney for El Paso County in Colorado, said in a press conference on Tuesday that, if convicted, the suspect “will serve the remainder of their life in prison without breathing free air again”.

He added his office’s filing of 305 charges, including for hate crimes, indicates that prosecutors are taking the case seriously.

“We’re not going to tolerate actions against community members based on their sexual identity,” Mr Allen said.

Club Q has been described as the heart of the LGBT community in Colorado Springs, a city 70 miles (110km) south of Denver.

The first emergency call from the club came in shortly before midnight on Saturday 19 November, with officers arriving just minutes later.

Richard Fierro – a 15-year US Army veteran with combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan – was sitting nearby when the shooting started.

He later told reporters that his combat training had kicked in, prompting him to attack the suspect and pull him to the ground by his body armour.

The perpetrator’s rifle fell in the ensuing tussle. As Mr Fierro and the suspect wrestled, he called to a nearby man – and later a show performer – to kick the gunman in the head.

The five victims killed in the shooting ranged in age from 22 to 40. The youngest was Mr Vance, 22, the long-time boyfriend of Mr Fierro’s daughter.

Mr Aston, 28, and Mr Rump, 38, were both bartenders at the club.

The other two victims were Ms Loving, 40, who was visiting from Denver, and Ms Paugh, a 35-year-old foster care worker.

The suspect was previously arrested in June 2021 in Colorado Springs after they threatened to detonate a bomb and harm their mother, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office last year.

They are scheduled to appear in court again on 22 February for a preliminary hearing.

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