The Colorado Springs gay nightclub mass shooting suspect pleaded guilty Monday in last year's shooting that killed five people and wounded 17. It is possible that the plea will bring a life sentence for suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich and avoid a trial, the Associated Press reports. People close to victims and survivors of the shooting are expected to speak at the hearing. Aldrich has expressed remorse Aldrich faces more than 300 state counts, including murder and hate crimes. The DOJ may also file federal hate crime charges. Aldrich’s attorneys, who do not dispute Aldrich’s role in the shooting, have pushed back on hate being the reason.
Some survivors believe Aldrich's comments are an attempt to avoid the death penalty. Aldrich had been arrested over a year before the attack for threatening their grandparents and vowing to become “the next mass killer.” Charges in that case were ultimately dropped. Investigators later said the two guns Aldrich had during the Club Q attack — the rifle and a handgun — appeared to be ghost guns, or firearms without serial numbers that are homemade and do not require an owner to pass a background check.