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Murder, bias-motivated crime charges recommended against Club Q shooting suspect

The suspect was being held on suspicion of 10 counts of first-degree murder and bias-motivated crimes.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Springs police on Monday released the names of the five people killed in a shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub Saturday night, as well as the "two heroes who intervened" to stop the gunman.

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Charges of murder and bias-motivated crimes have been recommended for the suspect in the shooting, which left five dead and at least 18 injured.

The victims who died were identified as: 

  • Daniel Aston
  • Kelly Loving
  • Ashley Paugh
  • Derrick Rump
  • Raymond Green Vance

Richard Fierro and Thomas James were the two people who stopped the gunman and prevented him from injuring more people, said Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez.

“I also want to identify the two heroes who intervened inside of Club Q," Vasquez said in a Monday news conference. "Their exact actions are part of the investigation, so we can’t discuss the specifics out of respect for the judicial process, but with their permission, we want to acknowledge their heroic actions."

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he talked with Fierro before Monday's news conference.

"I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions that was so humble about it," Suthers said. "He simply said to me, 'I was trying to protect my family.'"

Colorado Springs police spokesperson Lt. Pamela Castro said on Monday that 17 people were injured by gunshot wounds. Another person was injured, but not by a gunshot wound.

She said police have identified one victim with no visible injuries, but they expect that number to change.

"That's why we have reached out to the community, to our all of media partners, to get out there that we know there were more people at the club, and we really want to speak to them. They could be victims of a crime," Castro said.

RELATED: At least 5 dead, 18 injured in LGBTQ+ nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs

Authorities initially said at least 25 people were injured in the shooting but clarified on Monday that at least 18 people suffered injuries in addition to the five victims who were killed.

> Watch Monday's full press conference

Court records show Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was being held on suspicion of the following charges in the shooting:

  • Five courts of first-degree murder after deliberation
  • Five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury

He had been in the hospital, but according to a tweet from Colorado Springs police, custody was transferred to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office at the jail Tuesday afternoon.

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen emphasized that his office has not yet filed formal charges. He said that typically, the formal charges include more charges than those listed in the initial arrest papers.

Investigators were still working to determine the motive behind the shooting. 

When asked about possible bias-motivated crime charges, Allen said, "It’s important, that if we have enough evidence to support bias-motivated crimes, to charge that. It’s important for this community. It’s important for the prosecution effort to show why something happened, and if there’s enough evidence to support that in this case, when we get to the formal filing of charges, we will absolutely be including those charges here as well.” 

Court records show that Aldrich was being held without bond as of Monday. The affidavit has been sealed. Court records also indicate that until 2016 the suspect was known as Nicholas Brink. At that time a petition was filed with a court in Texas to legally change his name to Anderson Lee Aldrich. The documents provide a reason for the name change.

Allen said the arrest papers will likely be unsealed at some point in the coming days.

The suspect will make his first court appearance after he is released from the hospital, which Allen said he expects to happen within the next few days.

Aldrich was arrested within about five minutes of the first call to police, according to authorities.

RELATED: Club Q shooting suspect evaded Colorado's red flag gun law

A year and a half ago, Aldrich allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb, forcing neighbors in surrounding homes to evacuate while the bomb squad and crisis negotiators talked him into surrendering.

Despite that scare, there was no record that prosecutors ever moved forward with felony kidnapping and menacing charges against Aldrich, or that police or relatives tried to trigger Colorado’s “red flag" law that would have allowed authorities to seize the weapons and ammo his mother said he had with him.

When asked about his view of the red flag law, Suthers said "law enforcement agencies in appropriate circumstances should take advantage of it."

"I would caution against an assumption that the circumstances of this case would lead to application of the red flag law. We don’t know that," said Suthers, a former Colorado attorney general. "I would caution any conclusion either way, or not. As the district attorney indicated, hopefully there will be a time when there can be a specific discussion about any prior interaction with law enforcement.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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