The gunman accused of shooting up a Colorado gay bar is facing murder and hate crime charges Monday — as it emerged one of the five dead was a married mom leaving behind a “devastated” 11-year-old daughter.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces five murder charges and five of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury over Saturday night’s mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, according to court records obtained Monday.
He is believed to have had “tremendous firepower,” including an AR-15-style rifle — despite being busted last year for making a bomb threat against his mom, forcing at least 10 homes to be evacuated.
Aldrich allegedly injured “up to 30” people in Saturday’s mass shooting — including at least one of the two “hero” clubgoers who tackled him and thwarted the bloodbath, Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez told CNN.
“One of them was injured and is in the hospital,” Vasquez said. “They did an amazing job.”
Among the five killed were Club Q bartenders Daniel Davis Aston, 28, and Derrick Rump, 38, as well as two female visitors to the city.
They included Ashley Paugh, a 35-year-old married mom who was not part of the LGBTQ community. She had visited the club expecting to see a comedian during a day trip to Colorado Springs, her sister, Stephanie Clark, told NBC News.
Paugh “lived for her daughter” who “is devastated,” Clark told the outlet of the 11-year-old girl left without her mom.
“It just doesn’t seem real,” Clark told the outlet. “We’re heartbroken. We’re sad. We’re mad, angry,” she said.
“Nothing will ever be the same without her,” Clark said. “She was a loving, caring person who would do anything for anybody. We’re gonna miss her so much.”
Kelly Loving, 40, was also visiting the city from Denver — and had just FaceTimed a friend, with her final words to her being “Be safe. I love you.”
“I’m so devastated because she was such a good person,” the friend she’d FaceTimed, Natalee Skye Bingham, told The New York Times.
“She was like a trans mother to me. I looked up to her,” Ms. Bingham told the outlet.
“She was a tough woman … She taught me how it was to be a trans woman and live your life day to day.”
Loving’s sister, Tiffany Loving, also told The Times that she found out about her sister’s death from the FBI on Sunday.
“She was loving, always trying to help the next person out instead of thinking of herself. She just was a caring person,” she said.
Despite the serious charges against Aldrich, the local El Paso District Attorney raced to seal the arrest affidavit that would have detailed the case against him.
“If the information supporting the Arrest Warrant Affidavit was to be released, it could jeopardize the ongoing case investigation,” Deputy District Attorney Brent Nelson argued in a motion that was approved by a local judge just after 8:30 a.m.
Although the application did not mention it, the bid came amid growing concern that Aldrich had been free — and able to access automatic weapons — despite having been arrested last year for allegedly making a bomb threat against his mother.
CNN obtained Ring doorbell footage showing Aldrich coming out barefoot and with hands up in the incident after an hours-long standoff.
He’d livestreamed himself wearing SWAT gear during the standoff, according to the Daily Mail, which shared clips of him calling cops “f—ing s–theads” with “their f—ing rifles out.”
“If they breach I’m [going to] blow it to holy hell. Come on in boys, let’s f—ing see it!’ he said in the video, according to the Mail.
At the time, sheriff’s deputies said the suspect’s mom reported him for “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”
He “refused to comply with orders to surrender,” the release said, leading them to evacuate 10 nearby homes before he finally surrendered.
However, no formal charges were pursued in the case — which has also been sealed, the Colorado Springs Gazette noted.
Aldrich had himself confirmed that detail in a call to the local paper in August demanding it update its story. “There is absolutely nothing there, the case was dropped … The entire case was dismissed,” he said in a voice message months before Saturday’s carnage.
Gun control advocates are asking why police didn’t try to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law, which would have allowed authorities to seize the weapons his mother says he had.
Mayor John Suthers told NBC’s “Today” the district attorney would file motions in court Monday to allow law enforcement to talk more about any criminal history “that this individual might have had.”
Of the 25 injured at Club Q, at least seven were in critical condition, authorities said.
Some were hurt trying to flee, and it was unclear if all of them were shot, a police spokesperson said. Suthers told The Associated Press there was “reason to hope” all of those hospitalized would recover.
He separately told “Good Morning America” that the suspect had “considerable ammo” and was “extremely well armed,” with at least the autoamtic rifle and a handgun on him during the attack, which fell on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“We have all been impacted by the tragic darkness,” he told the ABC News show, saying the bloodbath “has the trappings of a hate crime.”
With Post wires