Gay club shooting in the USA: perpetrator sentenced to life imprisonment
Steph Deschamps / June 28, 2023
The perpetrator of a massacre at an LGBT+ nightclub in the western United States was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday after pleading guilty in a harrowing hearing.
Armed with a pistol and an assault rifle, Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire on November 19, 2022 in the "Club Q" in Colorado Springs, killing five and wounding 18, just after a drag show.
The 23-year-old, who according to his lawyers identifies himself as non-binary, had been overpowered by two customers who tackled him to the ground and disarmed him.
He was charged with 305 counts, including murder and attempted murder.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, bearded and corpulent, appeared before a Colorado Springs judge on Monday to plead guilty, thus avoiding a trial.
Relatives of his victims then spoke of their grief. "I will never forgive you for your heinous crime," said Sabrina Aston, whose son Daniel died in the Q nightclub.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Michael McHenry handed down a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Like so many people in our culture, you sought the power behind the trigger of a firearm," the magistrate told him, as reported by ABC.
The sentence handed down shows "that such an act cannot be tolerated and that the LGBTQ+ community is as much a part of the human family as you are," he added.
Since the tragedy, details have emerged of the chaotic life of the killer, whose parents were drug addicts and whose childhood was marked by instability. But his motive is a matter of debate: the prosecution has suggested homophobia, which the defense disputes.
The bloodbath had rekindled the fears of the American LGBT+ community six years after the worst massacre in its history: on June 12, 2016, an American of Afghan origin had killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
It also illustrated once again the danger of firearms in the United States, where there are more guns than people.
More than 20,000 people have died from them, including by suicide, since the beginning of 2023, according to the specialist site Gun Violence Archive.