Colorado club shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich has been slapped with more than 300 charges in the mass shooting last month which claimed the lives of five people, according to CNN. Aldrich, who uses they/them pronouns, faces life in prison without possibility of parole if convicted on the charges.
Aldrich opened fire at LGBT nightclub Club Q Nov. 19 and could’ve killed even more people if a clubgoer didn’t step in to disarm them. Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen announced the Class 1 to Class 5 felonies Aldrich faces Tuesday. Their charges include first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and bias-motivated crimes causing bodily injury, the report says.
After local news caught wind of the shooter’s gender identity, it posed a question as to why Aldrich would attack a safe space made for fellow non-binary people. Could they still be charged with a hate crime?
Read more about it from AP News:
Allen said the suspect being nonbinary was “part of the picture” in considering hate crime charges but he wouldn’t elaborate.
“We are not going to tolerate actions against community members based on their sexual identity,” Allen said. “Members of that community have been harassed, intimidated and abused for too long.”
Experts say someone who is nonbinary can be charged with a hate crime for targeting fellow members of the LGBTQ community because hate crime laws are focused on the victims, not the perpetrator. But bringing a hate crime case to conviction can be difficult, because prosecutors must prove what motivated the defendant, a higher standard than usually required in court.
Aldrich’s father (and former porn-star?!) Aaron Brink told The New York Post he wasn’t familiar with what being non-binary entailed (which is evident in his statement), but didn’t seem to care as long as Aldrich didn’t identify as gay.
“There are no questions if you’re a man or a woman … no question about that. He has my genetics, so he’s gonna be pretty heterosexual,” said Brink. “I’m not anti-gay at all…I will not participate [in] homosexuality and I prefer my son not to do the same thing … I was really very relieved to know that he wasn’t gay. Everybody’s lives matter. Your life matters. The gender you are… gay or straight … I have a heart.”
What a way to respond to the massacre your offspring is responsible for: deflect from the shooting itself but exhaust your opinions on their sexuality.
Anyways, Aldrich’s charges increased in number as prosecutors added 27 counts of injuries, 21 involving people fearing injury and 48 hate crimes for the occupants of the club the night of the shooting, according to AP. Aldrich is being held without bond until trial and is expected to be arraigned next year.