Updated: 12:48 p.m.
The suspect in the Club Q nightclub shooting made an initial court appearance in Colorado Springs Wednesday morning.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, attended the hearing via video conference from the El Paso County Jail. Prosecutors advised five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime, which is how Colorado law refers to a hate crime.
The District Attorney's office has not yet filed formal charges against the suspect because the investigation is ongoing.
During the five-minute hearing, Aldrich had a badly bruised face and appeared to slump over in an orange vest and handcuffs as the judge and attorneys spoke. The suspect gave short answers to questions during the hearing with slightly slurred speech. The judge ruled that Aldrich should be held in custody without bond.
At a press conference after the hearing, District Attorney for the 4th Judicial District Michael Allen said that while Aldrich’s defense counsel has said the suspect uses they/them pronouns, that will not affect the prosecution’s strategy in the case.
"To us, his legal definition in this proceeding is 'the defendant,'" Allen said.
Allen also spoke to the victims of the shooting and their families.
"I want them to know that we are going to be the voice for the victims in the courtroom and that we will be fighting alongside them through this entire process," Allen said.
Aldrich is accused of opening fire over the weekend in the nightclub serving the LGBTQ+ community, killing five people and injuring at least 19 others. A drag show had been scheduled for Saturday evening. People in attendance have recalled a collective effort to subdue the shooter before police arrived.
Richard Fierro, a brewery owner, says he tackled and beat the alleged shooter with the attacker’s own pistol.
Aldrich is next expected to appear in court on Dec. 6 for an in-person hearing, but defense attorneys have asked the judge in the case to move that date up.
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