Alleged Club Q shooter is nonbinary, defense says

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A mourner is seen outside Club Q in Colorado Springs during a candlelight vigil days after a mass shooting at the club. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

(The Hill) – The alleged shooter who authorities say killed five people and injured 18 others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is nonbinary, according to filings from their defense team. 

Public defenders referred to the suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, as “Mx. Aldrich” in motions filed on their behalf and stated in footnotes that Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. 

The motions pertain to the unsealing of documents and evidence gathering, and did not expand on Aldrich’s gender identity. 

Officials have said Aldrich, who has yet to be formally charged, has been preliminarily charged with five counts of murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime, but the charges are not final. 

The nightclub where the attack occurred, Club Q, is locally known to be a haven for the LGBTQ community in the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs. 

Aldrich previously used the name Nicholas Franklin Brink until 2016 but petitioned a Texas court for a name change weeks before they turned 16. The defense said Aldrich requested the name change to “protect himself” from a father, who reportedly had a criminal history that included domestic violence against Aldrich’s mother. 

The Washington Post first reported the name change. 

Aldrich was taken to a hospital after two patrons reportedly subdued them and beat them with the gun they had used in the shooting. They were released from the hospital on Tuesday and taken to jail in El Paso County, where Colorado Springs is located. 

Aldrich was arrested last year after their mother reported that they threatened her with a bomb and other weapons. 

Some advocates have raised questions about why Colorado’s red flag law was not used to take Aldrich’s weapons away after the incident. The law allows family, friends or law enforcement to petition a court for someone’s firearms to be taken away if they pose a threat to themselves or others. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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