Club Q gunman sentenced to 55 life terms in prison

The gunman who killed five people at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub in 2022 has been sentenced to multiple life sentences.

Anderson Aldrich pleaded guilty to 50 federal hate crimes and was sentenced to 55 life sentences. He also pleaded guilty to 74 hate-crimes and firearms violations and was sentenced to another 190 years.

The 24-year-old entered the plea on Tuesday as part of a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.

Aldrich, 24, had already pleaded guilty to state charges and is currently serving five life sentences related to the Club Q shooting.

US District Court Judge Charlotte Sweeney sentenced Aldrich as families of the victims and survivors of the mass shooting watched.

“This community is stronger than your armour, stronger than your weapons and stronger than your hatred,” the judge told Aldrich after his sentencing, adding his guilty plea included that he attacked the club because of the victims' "actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation".

In June 2023, Aldrich received five life sentences as well as 46 consecutive 48-year sentences for state attempted murder charges.

The attacker pleaded no contest to hate crimes in that case.

Aldrich, who lawyers say identifies as nonbinary and uses the pronouns they and them, visited Club Q multiple times before the attack and had previously expressed hatred for police, LGBT people and minorities, according to prosecutors.

In a statement in January, prosecutors called Aldrich's targeting of Club Q "a willful, deliberate, malicious and premediated attack".

On the night of 19 November, Aldrich entered the club, one of Colorado Springs' most popular LGBT bars, and opened fire.

The five who died in the shooting were Daniel Aston, 28; Kelly Loving, 40; Ashley Paugh, 35; Derrick Rump, 38; and Raymond Green Vance, 22.

US prosecutors say 19 people were injured in the shooting.

The shooting rampage ended after the nightclub's patrons subdued the attacker until police arrived.

Aldrich had used "computers, internet service providers, web-based retail platforms, web-based financial payment process platforms, and interstate commercial mail carriers, to acquire firearm components, ammunition, and tactical gear" to prepare for the attack, the US attorney's office said.