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Club Q shooter changes his plea to guilty to hate crime charges in federal court

The gunman who killed five people and injured more than a dozen others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2022 accepted a plea deal Tuesday related to federal hate crimes charges.

Anderson Lee Aldrich pleaded guilty to all 74 counts of violating the Matthew Shepard And James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, as well as in connection with the Club Q shooting. Aldrich initially pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors are recommending a life sentence without the possibility of parole, followed by 190 years in prison, according to court documents filed June 4. In a Jan. 9 motion, prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty.

The sentencing recommendation details Aldrich's alleged past use of online platforms to “express homophobic and transphobic views,” the use of homophobic slurs, and the harassment of a gay colleague in the years before the attack.

In addition to the federal charges, Aldrich was already sentenced to over 2,000 years in prison in June 2023 after pleading guilty to five counts of first-degree murder and 46 counts of attempted first-degree murder. Aldrich pleaded guilty to two counts of bias-motivated crimes.

Aldrich opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle on the evening of Nov. 19, 2022, at Club Q while wearing a tactical vest with ballistic plates and had “at least two additional magazines loaded with ammunition.” The club had just hosted a drag show that evening as one of several events honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, court documents show.

Aldrich was only stopped when two guests forcibly took away his weapons.

Daniel Davis Aston, Kelly Loving, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance were killed in the attack.

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