The man suspected of killing five people and injuring 17 others with gunshot wounds at a gay bar in Colorado Springs is facing murder and hate crime charges.
According to reports, Anderson Lee Alrich has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and bias-motivated crimes causing bodily injury after opening fire into Club Q late Saturday.
The 22-year-old shot 30 people before he was subdued, according to online records. Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said at least two “heroic people in the club” confronted Aldrich and fought with him.
Since the incident, authorities have been investigating whether the shooting was motivated by hate, “The motive of the crime is part of the investigation and whether this is a hate crime is part of that investigation,” Vasquez said.
The charges are preliminary, and prosecutors have not filed them in court. The hate crime charges would require proving that the gunman was motivated by bias, such as against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
A law enforcement official said the suspect used an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon, but a handgun and additional ammunition magazines also were recovered.
The attack was halted when a patron grabbed a handgun from Aldrich, hit him with it, and pinned him down until police arrived minutes later.
On Sunday, Club Q officials thanked “the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”
Thirteen people remained hospitalized Monday, officials said. Five people have been treated and released.
President Joe Biden spoke on Sunday, explaining that while the motive for the shooting remained unclear, “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.”
“Gun violence continues to have a devastating and particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation, and threats of violence are increasing,” he said.
The Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, called the shooting “horrific, sickening and devastating. Polis became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the U.S in 2018.