© Reuters. Flowers, signs and keepsakes are left at a memorial site for the victims after a mass shooting at the LGBTQ Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., November 22, 2022. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing
By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) – The suspect in the mass shooting that killed five people and injured 17 at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub appeared before a judge on Wednesday in a video link from jail, slumped on his side and in a wheelchair, showing facial injuries and with difficulty speaking.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was hospitalized from his early Sunday morning arrest until Tuesday when he was transferred to jail.
His deliberation hearing was conducted via video link, with the accused handcuffed and wearing a prison uniform.
Although officials did not detail his injuries, the suspect was beaten by Richard Fierro, a decorated Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, in a successful effort to stop further bloodshed at Club Q. in Colorado’s second largest city.
Police initially arrested Aldrich on five counts of first-degree murder and felony bias stemming from the Saturday night killings.
These charges were not discussed during the brief hearing, during which defense lawyers asked to be given a copy of the arrest warrant. El Paso County Judge Charlotte Ankeny granted the request on the condition that the warrant not be made public.
El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said after the hearing that he plans to file formal criminal charges before the defendant’s next court hearing, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6.
In the meantime, Allen said his office would continue to request that Aldrich be held without bond.
Defense attorneys for the state of Colorado’s public defender said in court filings Tuesday that Aldrich identifies as non-binary, prefers they/them pronouns, and would be mentioned in documents filed with the Mx. honorific.
Allen said it would have no bearing on how he prosecutes the case, including whether to charge hate crimes.