Colorado Club Q Shooting Suspect Pleads Guilty to LGBTQ+ Mass Shooting

Feature image photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Anderson Lee Aldrich , the 23-year-old who opened fire on LGBTQ+ patrons at Colorado’s popular Club Q, has pleaded guilty today of murder and attempted murder. As part of the plea deal, Aldrich will serve life in prison.

On Nov. 19, 2022, Aldrich opened fire with an AR-15 in the Colorado Springs queer hot spot just before midnight, killing five people and injuring 17 more before being stopped by club goers, including Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas James and Army veteran Rich Fierro. Aldrich was ultimately charged with 323 criminal counts, including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, assault, and hate crimes. Aldrich pleaded no contest to the charges of bias-motivated crimes, despite the fact that Aldrich “ran a site featuring neo-Nazi videos and sent a [Discord] photo of a rifle scope aimed over a Pride parade” and that friends recalled “Aldrich using gay and racial slurs while playing video games,” according to the Washington Post.

After the plea deal was entered today, several family members of Club Q victims addressed Aldrich and the court. The mother of bartender Daniel Aston told Aldrich, “I will never forgive you for this heinous crime.” Adriana Vance, whose son Raymond Green Vance was also killed in the shooting, told Aldrich, “[You] don’t deserve to go on” and followed by telling the court “what matters now is that [Aldrich] never sees the sunrise or the sunset.”

When rumors of the plea deal reached the media a few weeks ago, the Associated Press reported that Aldrich said, “I have to take responsibility for what happened” and “put much of the blame on drugs,” while also characterizing the crime “in passive generalities such as ‘I just can’t believe what happened’ and ‘I wish I could turn back time.'” Victims’ friends and families were quick to point out that this doesn’t align with the the “maps, diagrams, online rants and other evidence that showed months of plotting and premeditation.”

Club Q bartender Michael Anderson told the AP: “This community has to live with what happened, with collective trauma, with PTSD, trying to grieve the loss of our friends, to move past emotional wounds and move past what we heard, saw and smelled.”

Hopefully today will be a small step forward in that healing journey.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. This guy is trolling by using they/them pronouns (as evidenced by his history of online activity in alt-right spaces where that sort of trolling is de rigueur) and I really don’t think we as queer commenters should be respecting it

    I know the obvious counterargument to this is “you have to respect everyone’s stated pronouns even if they’re a neo-nazi gaybasher, to do anything else is a slippery slope” but this just feels like such an extreme case to me that I don’t think the slippery slope argument holds true

    • I’m glad someone addresses this. Many people are not aware about how well versed alt right troll communities are in the details of leftist or queer cultures, and that many are trolling by posing as “minority members”. Many also have accounts where they poise as black or female.
      I have been saying since 10 years that they are using this strategy to divide and confuse the left, or to turn us against each other.
      Not a new strategy, young Goebbels used his intimate knowledge of the left to design insidious strategies against them, often using their own language and symbols, or having them infiltrated.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!