Club Q shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich charged with 50 federal hate crimes

Club Q shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich has been charged with 50 federal hate crimes in the aftermath of the deadly November 2022 attack that killed five people and endangered at least 40 others.

Last year, Aldrich pleaded guilty to over 50 charges, including five first-degree murder charges, and 46 charges of attempted first-degree muder – one for each person in the club during the shooting. As a result, they were handed five life sentences and an additional 2,208 years behind bars.

The five people killed in the devastating massacre were Daniel Aston, 28, Kelly Loving, 40, Ashley Paugh, 35, Derrick Rump, 38, and Raymond Green Vance, 22.

Aldrich, 23, has now made a deal with prosecutors and is expected to plead guilty to 50 federal charges for hate crimes and 24 federal charges for firearm violations, according to court documents seen by AP News.

Club Q shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich has been charged with 50 federal hate crimes (Getty Images)

The new charges would see Aldrich get a number of life sentences as well as a 190-year sentence, according to the plea deal, which was drawn up on 9 January.

The plea deal was unsealed by the court after Aldrich – who his attorneys have said in court is non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns – made their initial court appearance on Tuesday afternoon (16 January) after Aldrich pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.

Typically, charges for a hate crime that result in death qualify for the death penalty. However, court documents indicate that the plea agreement has removed the possibility of the death penalty in this case.

The court document reads: “Among other provisions, the agreement provides that the defendant will plead guilty to every count of a 74-count Information charging [them] with federal hate crimes in violation of relevant provisions of the Shepard-Byrd Act, 18 U.S.C. § 249, and appurtenant gun crimes in violation of the relevant provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 924.

“The United States is not seeking the death penalty in this case. The parties have agreed that multiple concurrent life sentences plus a consecutive sentence of 190 years imprisonment is sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve the goals of criminal justice.”

A pride flag reading "Equality" and hundreds of items adorn the closed entrance to Club Q. The Club Q shooting memorial continues growing one week after a mass shooter took five lives and injured 18 others on Nov. 19 at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs.
A tribute to the lives lost and those injured at the deadly 2022 Club Q shooting in Colorado Spring, Colorado. (Getty Images)

When Aldrich was sentenced in state court, District Attorney Michael Allen said that the possibility of receiving the death penalty in the federal system was “a big part of what motivated the defendant” to plead guilty to the state charges.

Jeff Aston, the father of killed Club Q bartender Daniel Aston, had said during the initial sentencing that he hoped for the death penalty, adding that the initial sentence of five life sentences and an additional 2,208 years still does not offer “enough closure”.

Michael Anderson, who had also been bartending at Club Q on the night of the shooting told AP that he hoped these new federal charges would serve as a deterrent by “sending a message to people who want to commit violent acts against this community, and lets them know this is not something that is swept away or overlooked.

“No matter how much justice is served statewide or federally, it can’t undo the bullets fired.”