Hate Crime? Colorado Club Q shooting suspect ‘Mx. Aldrich’ is ‘non-binary,’ public defenders say

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Anderson Lee Aldrich, the suspect accused of killing five people and injuring 17 others in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, over the weekend, is described as “non-binary” by public defenders in court documents.

The public defenders refer to Aldrich as “Mx. Aldrich” in several standard motions filed on his behalf on Tuesday. The motions deal with issues like unsealing documents and gathering evidence, not Aldrich’s identity, and there was no further explanation.

“Anderson Aldrich is non-binary,” the documents’ footnotes state. “They use they/them pronouns and will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich in all formal filings.”

The motive for the shooting is still unknown, but authorities say Aldrich faces murder and hate crime charges.

Hate crime charges would necessitate demonstrating that the shooter was motivated by bias, such as hatred for the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges against Aldrich because the charges are preliminary. Joseph Archambault, a chief trial deputy with the state public defender’s office, is representing Aldrich.

It was also revealed Tuesday that Aldrich changed his name as a teenager after filing a legal petition in Texas to “protect himself” from a father with a criminal history, including domestic violence against Aldrich’s mother.

Until 2016, Aldrich was known as Nicholas Franklin Brink. According to court records, Aldrich petitioned a Texas court for a name change just weeks before turning 16. Their grandparents, who were their legal guardians at the time, petitioned for the name change on Brink’s behalf.

Aldrich’s request for a name change came months after she was allegedly bullied online. A June 2015 website posting that targeted a teenager named Nick Brink suggests they were bullied in high school. The post included photos similar to those of the shooting suspect and made fun of Brink’s weight, lack of money, and alleged interest in Chinese cartoons.