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Survivors Confront Club Q Shooter at Sentencing Hearing

Survivors Confront Club Q Shooter at Sentencing Hearing

Survivors Confront Club Q Shooter at Sentencing Hearing

“I hope for the worst things possible in prison, and even that won’t be good enough.”

The survivors and victims of the Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs last November were in a courtroom on Monday to confront the “monster” who tried to kill them, according to reports from the Associated Press and Reuters.

Anderson Lee Aldrich pled guilty to murdering five people and injuring 17 others at the nightclub popular with the local LGBTQ+ community on November 19, 2022. Aldrich's attorneys said the shooter uses they/them pronouns and is nonbinary, although prosecutors and witnesses dispute those claims. Aldrich wore body armor when they opened fire with an assault-style weapon and a handgun killing Daniel Aston, Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Derrick Rump. They were stopped by an Army veteran who ran towards the shooter when the shots rang out and another bar patron who came to help hold Aldrich down until police arrived. Witnesses said the loss of life would have been greater but for their brave actions.

Before Judge Michael McHenry handed down a sentence, however, victims and survivors were allowed the opportunity to confront Aldrich in their own words.

And they did not hold back.

“This monster next to me decided to come into my job and our community safe space and begin hunting us down as if our lives were meaningless,” said bartender Michael Anderson. “He has broken this community into pieces that may never be repaired.”

Stephanie Clark lost her sister, Ashely Paugh, during the massacre. She recalled how her 11-year-old niece cried “no, no, no” upon learning of her mother’s death.

“That is something I wish he would hear every day for the rest of his life,” Clark told the court.

Richard Fierro is credited with halting the bloodshed and saving additional lives when he charged Aldrich, disarmed them, and beat them about the face with the shooter’s gun. Fierro lost his daughter’s boyfriend in the attack. “I want this terrorist to have visions of his terror to haunt him for the rest of your life,” Fierro said.

Jessica Fierro echoed her husband’s sentiments. “This thing sitting in this courtroom is not a human, it is a monster,” she said. “The devil awaits with open arms.”

Drea Norman helped Fierro subdue Aldrich after he climbed over the bodies of two of his friends.

“I stood above him,” Norman told the court. “My only thought was throw my foot down, stop him, and after what I imagine was ten strikes, I stopped.”

“I hope for the worst things possible in prison, and even that won’t be good enough,” said Ashtin Gamblin, who was shot nine times.

Colorado is no longer a death sentence state, so Judge Michael McHenry sentenced Aldrich to five consecutive life sentences plus an additional 2,200 years in jail on related charges.

“Your actions reflect the deepest malice of the human heart,” McHenry said in handing down the sentence.

Aldrich still faces the possibility of a death sentence if charged under federal laws. Sources confirmed to the AP a separate federal investigation is ongoing.

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