US LGBTQ club shooter hit with new federal hate crime charges

A makeshift memorial near the Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub where five people were shot
AFP

A 23-year-old who shot and killed five people at an LGBTQ club in the US state of Colorado in 2022 faces new federal hate crime charges, authorities said Tuesday.

Anderson Lee Aldrich is already serving five life sentences for the gun rampage at Club Q in Colorado Springs that also injured 19 people.

The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado said Tuesday it had filed a bevy of new federal charges.

“The information also alleges that Aldrich committed this attack because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of any person,” a statement said.

Federal hate crime charges usually carry stiffer penalties, and people convicted of them can face the death penalty.

Officials said Aldrich, who is reportedly serving the existing sentence for convictions for state crimes in Wyoming, would appear in court at an as-yet undetermined date.

“It is anticipated that the defendant has agreed to plead guilty to all charges,” a statement said.

Local media reported the plea deal would include an agreement for prosecutors not to seek capital punishment.

Aldrich, who identifies as non-binary, was overpowered by patrons of Club Q in Colorado Springs after opening fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle.

The shooting was the latest in a long history of attacks on LGBTQ venues in the United States, the deadliest of which claimed 49 lives at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in 2016.

With more firearms than inhabitants, the United States has the highest rate of gun deaths of any developed country.

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