The accused of murdering five people in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub appeared dazed and bloodied in court on Wednesday, where they were ordered held without bond.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, sported a beard and appeared cuffed and slouched in a chair during the video hearing, with their head slumped and resting on their shoulder as if asleep.
“Could the defendant please state his name?” Judge Charlotte Ankeny asked.
“Anderson Aldrich,” they replied weakly.
Aldrich, who appeared bloodied and bruised, sat nearly motionless during the five-minute hearing and only spoke when prompted by two public defenders at their side in El Paso County Jail.
“Anderson Aldrich did you watch the video concerning your constitutional rights in this case?” the judge asked.
“Yes,” Aldrich replied in a whisper after a lengthy pause.
“Do you have any questions about those rights?” the judge said.
Aldrich didn’t respond for several seconds before replying “No.”
Aldrich was ordered held without bond until their next court appearance on December 6.
Aldrich will almost certainly face murder and hate-crime charges, but formal charges have yet to be filed, and court records about his arrest have been sealed at prosecutors’ request. The arrest records were requested by defense attorneys.
The suspect is accused of storming into Club Q shortly before midnight Saturday and opening fire, killing five people and injuring more than a dozen more. The alleged shooter’s rampage came to an end when they were tackled by two clubgoers, who disarmed them and held them until police arrived.
Authorities haven’t answered questions about a potential motive, but a hate-crime charge would mean prosecutors believe they can prove as a motive, potentially based on sexual or gender identities of the victims.
In a series of court filings on Tuesday, the public defender representing Aldrich said they are non-binary.
“They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal filings, will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich,” a footnote in the filings said.
The note didn’t elaborate and it wasn’t clear when the suspect began to identify as non-binary.
According to a petition filed in Texas court on their behalf, Aldrich changed their name from Nicholas F. Brink in 2016. The change, requested by Aldrich’s grandparents, came just before their 16th birthday to “protect himself” from a father with a lengthy rap sheet, according to the petition.
“Minor wishes to protect himself and his future from any ties to his birth father and his criminal history,” the petition stated. “Father has had no contact with minor for several years.”
The father of Aldrich Aaron Brink is a former MMA fighter and porn actor who was convicted of battery against Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel.
Prior to the name change came after Aldrich had been bullied online, with photos and taunts about appearing to target then-Brink, according to the Washington Post.
Aldrich was arrested last year for allegedly making a bomb threat and threatening their mom. The Associated Press obtained surveillance footage showing Aldrich at their mother’s door and saying “This is where I stand. Today I die.”