Skip to content

Bouquets of flowers and a sign reading "Love Over Hate" are left near Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on 20 November 2022. At least five people were killed and 18 wounded in the mass shooting. (Photo by JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images)

Colorado LGBTQ Nightclub Shooter to Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges

As part of a plea agreement that would allow him to avoid the death penalty, the shooter who killed five people at a nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will plead guilty to 74 new federal charges related to the shooting.

Along with the deaths, Anderson Aldrich, 23, also injured dozens more in November 2022 when he opened fire in Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub. Aldrich was previously handed a life sentence in a state trial in June 2023 for five counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder.

During the previous sentencing hearing, Aldrich “received more than 2,000 years in prison, one of the longest in Colorado history,” The Washington Post reported.

However, new federal charges for 50 hate crimes and 24 firearm violations were filed—the maximum penalty for the hate crimes is life imprisonment while the gun charges can range from a minimum of 10 years in prison to the death penalty.

The plea deal made with prosecutors will result in Aldrich admitting to the new charges and receiving multiple life sentences on top of an additional consecutive 190-year prison sentence. The agreement is pending a judge’s approval.

The court unsealed the agreement after Aldrich initially pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on 16 January.

Aldrich also pleaded no contest to two state charges of hate crimes, which “was an acknowledgement that there was a good chance Aldrich would be convicted of those crimes without admitting guilty,” the Associated Press reported.

Prior to the shooting, prosecutors said Aldrich visited Club Q at least six times, forced to go by his mother. Aldrich added in a comment to the AP that they were on a large variety of drugs, as well as abusing steroids, during the attack.

The shooting was stopped by a U.S. Navy officer and an Army veteran, with the officer grabbing the barrel of the assault rifle Aldrich was using during the shooting and the veteran subduing and beating Aldrich before law enforcement arrived at the scene.

Aldrich was familiar to law enforcement before the shooting—he was arrested in June 2021 after his mother notified police that Aldrich threatened to detonate a bomb and harm her with weapons, however, she refused to testify against her son, according to Reuters.

(United States of America v. Anderson Lee Aldrich, U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, No. 24-cr-00006-CNS, 2024)