The mass shooter who killed five people at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ bar Club Q in November 2022 will spend the rest of their life behind bars after accepting a plea deal.

Anderson Lee Aldrich was charged with 305 counts — including first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault, and bias-motivated crimes — following the Nov. 20, 2022, mass shooting at Club Q. On Monday, June 26, they pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree murder, 46 counts of attempted murder, and no contest to a class five felony bias-motivated crime and class one misdemeanor bias-motivated crime, reports NBC News.

According to Judge Michael McHenry, Aldrich will serve five consecutive life sentences for the murder charges without the possibility of parole. This comes in addition to 46 consecutive 48-year sentences for the dozens of attempted murder counts, followed by mandatory periods of parole.

While prosecutors could have sought the death penalty had the case gone to trial, survivors and family members of the victims of the Club Q shooting expressed their desire to avoid a long, drawn-out trial. 

Aldrich — who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns — similarly wanted to avoid trial (and the death penalty) and accepted responsibility for their actions. 

“I have to take responsibility for what happened,” Aldrich told the Associated Press in June. “Nothing’s ever going to bring back their loved ones. People are going to have to live with injury that can’t be repaired.”

While Aldrich identifies as nonbinary and told the AP that claims they were motivated by hate are “completely off base,” Colorado prosecutors have evidence of Aldrich sending an online message with a photo of a rifle scope trained on a gay pride parade, as well as testimony from Aldrich’s gamer friends that he previously said anti-LGBTQ+ slurs, among other hate-filled rhetoric. They will not, however, face federal hate crime charges.

Aldrich instead blamed drugs on the mass shooting. “I don’t know if this is common knowledge but I was on a very large plethora of drugs,” Aldrich told the AP. “I had been up for days. I was abusing steroids. … I’ve finally been able to get off that crap I was on.”


Aldrich opened fire at Club Q late Saturday night, Nov. 20; five people were killed in the shooting, and 17 more were injured. Upon arriving at the scene, officers were able to immediately detain Aldrich, who’d reportedly been “subdued” by customers, including Army veteran Richard M. Fierro. Two firearms were recovered at the scene, including an AR-15-style weapon. 

Following Aldrich’s arrest, reports emerged that they had been arrested last year after their mother said they threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. While authorities did not find any explosives at the time, questions were still raised as to why authorities didn’t trigger a “red flag” law that would have allowed them to seize the weapons Aldrich’s mother said they had.