Defence attorneys had to prompt Aldrich when the court judge asked the suspect to state their name. (Colorado Springs Police Department)
The alleged Colorado Springs shooter has been held without bail following their first appearance in court.
22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich – whose lawyers have said uses they/them pronouns – faces multiple counts of murder and hate crime charges after the fatal shooting in Colorado Springs which killed five people and injured many more.
The five victims have been named as Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance.
The suspect allegedly opened fire in the LGBTQ+ club in the late hours of 19 November before being subdued by two bystanders.
They were reportedly beaten into submission by club patrons, including a trans woman and a former military officer, before being arrested by armed police at the scene.
Aldrich was eventually released from hospital after being treated for sustained injuries on Tuesday.
Aldrich was seen for the first time during an El Paso court appearance via video call, where they appeared slumped over, bruised, and barely able to speak.
During the recorded clip, defence attorneys had to prompt Aldrich when court judge Charlotte Ankeny asked the suspect to state their name.
Charges against Aldrich are currently in the preliminary stages, with the prosecution still working on filing formal charges. In order to be convicted, prosecutors would need to prove motivation perpetuated by sexual orientation or gender identity.
If successfully charged, district attorney Michael Allen noted that the murder charges would carry life in prison, whereas bias crimes are eligible for probation.
While authorities have not officially declared a motive, the case is still under investigation.
Defence lawyers say that Aldrich is non-binary
Defence attorney Joseph Archambault said on Tuesday that Aldrich identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.
The defence team clarified the suspect’s usage of pronouns in legal filings submitted prior to Aldrich’s initial court appearance.
In 2016, they petitioned a Texas court to legally changed their name to “protect himself” from his father, who has a criminal history.
Their father – a mixed martial arts fighter – was recorded saying that, after finding out about the shooting, he was worried that Aldrich was gay.
“They started telling me about the incident, a shooting,” he said. “I go on to find out it’s a gay bar. I got scared, ‘s**t, is he gay?’ And he’s not gay, so I said, phew.”
The Colorado shooter’s dad on finding out his son murdered people: “They started telling me about the incident, a shooting… And then I go on to find out it’s a gay bar. I got scared, ‘Shit, is he gay?’ And he’s not gay, so I said, phew… I am a conservative Republican.” (@CBS8) pic.twitter.com/7Zw4vpLtjE
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) November 23, 2022
After a 2002 misdemeanour battery conviction in California, Aldrich’s father Aaron F Brink was barred from contacting his child through a protection order that was later modified to allow monitored visits.
Aldrich was reportedly arrested in 2021 after threatening their mother with a homemade bomb and other weapons according to the Associated Press, who shared doorbell video recordings.
Footage showed Aldrich arriving at their mother’s house with a big black bag, telling her the police were nearby and adding: “This is where I stand. Today I die.”