The gunman accused of killing five people in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Co., last month has been charged with 305 counts, including charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, assault and bias-motivated crimes causing bodily injury. Anderson Lee Aldrich, wearing a bright yellow prison jumpsuit, appeared in court Tuesday, where prosecutor Michael Allen announced the charges, which range between Class 1 and Class 5 felonies. Aldrich – who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns – faces up to life in prison without parole if convicted on the first-degree murder charges.
“When you file 305 counts in a case, that tells the public, this community, this state and this nation that we are taking this case as serious as we possibly can,” Allen said, “meaning that we are going to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law,” CNN reports. The suspect allegedly entered Club Q November 19 with an AR-style weapon and a handgun and opened fire, killing Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump. At least 19 others were injured. The attack was halted by two patrons who took down and contained the suspect until police arrived at the club, which was seen as a safe space for the LGBTQ community. “We’re not going to tolerate actions against community members based on their sexual identity," Allen said of the charges of bias-motivated crime. Aldrich’s attorneys said the suspect identified as nonbinary and would be addressed as Mx. Aldrich – a distinction that Allen said would have “no impact” on his office’s prosecution of the case.