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Colorado LGBTQ Nightclub Shooting Suspect Faces Murder and Hate Crime Charges

The victims of the deadly shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs last Saturday were identified on Monday. The man suspected of killing five people and wounding 17 others is facing murder and hate crime charges.  

The five people killed were identified as Ashley Paugh, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, and Raymond Green Vance. 

Colorado Springs police chief Adrian Vasquez said in a press conference: “Too often, society loses track of the victims of these sad and tragic events.”

Both Rump and Aston worked as bartenders at the club. Chief Vasquez also identified the two “heroes” who subdued the suspect as Richard Fierro and Thomas James. Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers said Fierro told him that he was “trying to protect his family” when he defended himself and other clubgoers. 

The aggressor was identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, and he is facing five murder charges and five charges of committing a hate crime causing bodily injury. The charges were preliminary, and prosecutors had not filed them in court as of Monday night. The hate crime charges would require proving that the gunman was motivated by bias, such as against the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and authorities haven’t so far given a suspected motive for the attack.

The suspect was taken to a hospital in custody at a hospital, and he remained hospitalized Monday night with undisclosed injuries. Yesterday afternoon, Colorado Springs police disclosed that 17 victims had gunshot injuries, and another victim suffered an injury that wasn’t a gunshot wound. Three of them are in stable condition at Centura Penrose Hospital

“We know many more community members were present at Club Q during the shooting, who may be victims with no visible injuries,” Colorado police said on Twitter. “An example is a community member who ran out as the shooting occurred.”

“This is tragic, and it just feels like an evil person has come in and done something horrific in this community,” Vasquez said.

The suspect was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported he threatened her with weapons and a homemade bomb, and people are questioning why authorities didn’t take his gun away from him. 

Though authorities confirmed that no explosives were found, gun control advocates are asking why police didn’t try to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law, which would have allowed authorities to take the guns his mother said he possessed. There’s also no public record that prosecutors ever moved forward with felony kidnapping and menacing charges against the suspect.

It was the sixth mass killing this month and came in a year when the nation was saddened by the deaths of 21 people in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

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