The man suspected of killing five people and injuring several others at a gay bar in Colorado Springs, USA, last Saturday, has been charged with murder and hate crimes.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces five counts of murder and five counts of committing a hate crime that caused bodily harm, according to court records now known.
A security official said the suspect used an AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon in Saturday night’s attack at Club Q, a Colorado bar frequented mostly by gay men, but a handgun and additional ammunition were recovered.
Although authorities said on Saturday that no explosives had been found, gun control advocates wonder why police did not try to activate a Colorado state law that allows authorities to seize the guns that the mother of the suspect said they were in possession of the son.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers explained that the prosecutor in charge of the investigation would file a request in court to allow police to release more information about the suspect’s record in Saturday’s attack.
Of the 25 injured at Club Q, at least seven were in critical condition, officials said.
Commenting on the attack, US President Joe Biden lamented that “the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to yet another terrible hate crime”.
“Places that should be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration must never be transformed into places of terror and violence,” concludes the US President.
The shooting rekindled memories of the 2016 massacre at another gay bar, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, which killed 49 people.
Colorado has been the scene of several mass shootings in the past, including one at Columbine High School in 1999, one at a movie theater in suburban Denver in 2012, and one at a supermarket in Boulder last year.
The Club Q attack was the sixth mass shooting this month in the United States, in a year that saw 21 people killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
In the US, since 2006, there have been 523 mass murders and 2727 deaths, as of November 19, according to the Associated Press/USA Today database.