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Colorado nightclub gunman charged with 305 criminal counts

IANS | December 07, 2022 09:25 AM

DENVER : The gunman who shot dead five people inside an LGBT nightclub in the US state of Colorado has been charged with 305 criminal counts, including murder, hate crimes and assault.

The 22-year-old accused Anderson Lee Aldrich, who lawyers say identifies as non-binary and uses they and them pronouns, appeared in a Colorado court where all of the charges were read, the BBC reported.

Aldrich, who has been held without bond since the shooting on November 19 at Club Q in Colorado Springs, has not entered a plea.

Michael Allen, the District Attorney for El Paso County in Colorado, said in a press conference on Tuesday that, if convicted, the suspect "will serve the remainder of their life in prison without breathing free air again".

He added his office's filing of 305 charges, including for hate crimes, indicates that prosecutors are taking the case seriously.

"We're not going to tolerate actions against community members based on their sexual identity, " the BBC quoted Allen as saying.

Club Q has been described as the heart of the LGBT community in Colorado Springs, a city 110 km south of state capital Denver.

Armed with a rifle and wearing body armour, Aldrich opened fire in the club.

He was subdued by two men until police arrived.

The five victims killed in the shooting ranged in age from 22 to 40. At least 25 people were also injured in the mass shooting.

The accused was previously arrested in June 2021 in Colorado Springs after threatening to detonate a bomb and harm their mother, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Aldrich are scheduled to appear in court again on February 22, 2023, for a preliminary hearing.

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