Colorado Springs suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich, who today (November 23) it emerged identified as non-binary while in custody, has been seen for first time, appearing in court to face murder charges.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, the suspect in Colorado’s mass shooting that killed five people and wounded 17 others inside an LGBTQ+ venue, has been seen for the first time since arrest.
Slumped to the side, in a wheelchair and showing facial injuries, Aldrich, 22, can be seen photographed with state public defenders, appearing before a judge via video link from jail during an advisement hearing.
Aldrich made their first appearance in court (November 23), the same day it emerged they filed official papers identifying as non-binary.
Aldrich is facing at least five counts of murder along with five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime – Colorado’s terminology for hate crimes – causing bodily injury.
In a court filing revealed today, obtained by the New York Times, lawyers refer to Aldrich, who “used the term ‘fa***t’ a lot,” according to a neighbour, as Mx. on legal filings.
However, booking records list Aldrich’s gender as male.
Additionally, in text messages from the day of the shooting, which were shown to The Daily Beast by a source close to Aldrich, Aldrich’s mother referred to her son as he and him.
While it’s not yet known if the suspect identified as non-binary prior to their arrest, some speculated that the documents should be interpreted cautiously, given the hate crime charges they currently face, while others suggested that the attack could have been motivated by some branch of internalised homophobia.
Ah, yes. Right-wing pundits and trans-deniers positively foaming at the mouth over Aldrich dropping a non-binary defence, seemingly only to avoid hate crime charges
But it’s not just that, is it. Not content with killing us, they’re now mocking us too
A reminder.. 🧵
( @CNN ) pic.twitter.com/LlVKrHouco
— ItsLitGayShit | GaysWhoMemeWell (@itslitgayshitt) November 23, 2022
The five victims who died during the attack have been formally identified as:
Raymond Green Vance (he/him), Kelly Loving (she/her), Daniel Aston (he/him), Derrick Rump (he/him), and Ashley Paugh (she/ her).
Tragically, the nightclub attack took place on the eve of Trans Day of Remembrance – a day to remember trans people around the world who have died or been killed as a result of transphobic violence – and the venue targeted had been marking the occasion that weekend.
It later emerged that Aldrich’s grandfather is Randy Voepel, California State Assemblyman and MAGA supporter who praised the actions of the January 6th insurrectionists, comparing them to American Revolutionaries. Voepel was recently rejected by voters in the midterms.
Let us not only #MAGA, but Make California Great Again! Grateful to be representing my district in the State Assembly. #InaugurationDay pic.twitter.com/8zw9iryUxM— Asm. Randy Voepel (@RandyVoepel) January 20, 2017
Reports have also indicated that Aldrich had a troubled upbringing with a father who used drugs and worked in the porn industry and a mother with multiple arrests to her name.
The shooter is reported to have entered the establishment, Club Q, wearing body armor, when they began firing with an AR-15 style rifle, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the shooting.
One of the club’s owners, who reviewed surveillance video of the scene, said the gunman entered the nightclub with “tremendous firepower”.
The attack was stopped after an army veteran and customer at the venue, Richard M. Fierro, reportedly grabbed the suspect’s gun and hit them with it, at which point he and another person pinned the shooter down until police arrived.
When police burst in, Fierro was reportedly still on top of the suspect, per The New York Times.
In new court filing, public defenders for the suspect in the mass shooting at a Colorado gay club that left 5 people dead say that their client is non-binary and that “they use they/them pronouns.” The lawyers refer to their client as Mx. Anderson Aldrich. pic.twitter.com/dPaUpiFXKN— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) November 23, 2022
A disturbing video of Aldrich began circulating on social media this week (below), seemingly a live stream of when they were arrested in June 2021, having a standoff with law enforcement after threatening to blow-up their mother’s house with her still inside.
Also today (November 23) Aldrich’s father gave an interview to press, in which, among other things, he shared the relief he felt that following the attack, learning that his kid “was not gay” and shared his own history as a former-porn star and recovering meth addict, among other things. It’s quite the mind-bender. Click here to watch.
Video of Anderson Lee Aldrich last year live-streaming his standoff with police after threatening to blow up the house his mother was in. #ColoradoSprings pic.twitter.com/zwkQOmS3Sx
— Shawn Schwaller (@madprofes) November 21, 2022