The suspect accused of killing five people and injuring 17 others at Club Q, the LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, pleaded guilty in a plea deal Monday and will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 23, pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder and 46 counts of attempted first-degree murder and no contest to two counts of bias-motivated crimes, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor.
According to the plea deal with El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen, Aldrich will serve five consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole on the murder charges and 46 consecutive 48-year sentences on the attempted murder charges, totaling 2,208 years in prison, Fourth Judicial District Judge Michael McHenry said.
“Like too many other people in our culture, you chose to find a power that day behind the trigger of a gun. Your actions reflect the deepest malice of the human heart and malice is almost always born out of ignorance and fear,” McHenry said.
“The sentence of this court is the judgment of the people of the state of Colorado that such hate will not be tolerated and that the LGBTQ+ community is as much a part of the family of humanity as you are.”
Daniel Aston, 28; Derrick Rump, 38; Kelly Loving, 40; Ashley Paugh, 34; and Raymond Vance, 22; were killed in the Nov. 19 attack.
The plea deal means that survivors and victims’ family members, many of whom spoke at Monday’s hearing, will avoid a potentially painful trial.
Allen said the deal as one that “achieves the highest measure of justice possible under the law in the state of Colorado while allowing the victims and their families to continue forward on their path toward healing.”
On the night of the Club Q shooting, Aldrich first entered the club approximately 10:15 p.m. before walking back to the parking lot.
Aldrich re-entered shortly before midnight, wearing a ballistic vest and carrying an AR-15-style assault rifle, and turned the club into a bloodbath.
Aldrich was tackled and disarmed by patrons, including Army veteran Richard Fierro, before being taken into custody by authorities.
FBI special agent Mark Michalek, head of the Denver field office, said during a news conference Monday that the agency has opened a case against Aldrich in conjunction with the Department of Justice. He didn’t provide additional details.
FBI officials said later an indictment or further charges could come from the DOJ or the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado.