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Public defenders for the Colorado Springs mass shooting suspect have said in a court filing that their client is non-binary.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces first-degree murder and hate crime charges after allegedly opening fire at an LGBT+ venue Club Q on Saturday night.
In a Tuesday night court filing obtained by the Colorado Sun, the public defenders said the suspect wanted to be addressed by the pronouns them/they and the honourific Mx.
Aldrich’s public defenders Joseph Archambault and Michael Bowman added the request to footnotes to several court motions.
“They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal fillings, will be addressed as Mx. Aldrich,” the attorneys wrote.
The attorneys also asked that the prosecution make no further attempts to speak to their client now that he had legal representation, according to the Colorado Sun.
Aldrich was released from hospital on Tuesday and is now being held in the El Paso County jail without bond.
Colorado Springs shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich and his mother Laura Voepel in a photo provided to CNN
The suspect is due to make a first court appearance via video link on Wednesday, according to The Gazette.
The request that Aldrich be addressed with non-binary pronouns has led to speculation that the move may be intentionally misleading – as authorities have not ruled out an anti-LGBT+ motive in the shooting.
The filing appears to mark the first time that Aldrich has ever been publicly referred to as non-binary. Family members have previously referred to Aldrich using he/him pronouns.
Five club-goers were shot dead and 18 wounded when a suspect identified by police as Aldrich stormed Club Q just before midnight on Saturday.
Army veteran Richard Fierro tackled the suspect and with subdued the suspect help from a drag queen, who stomped on his head with her heels.
The victims have been named as Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green Vance.
Colorado’s 4th judicial district attorney Michael Allen told reporters at a press conference on Monday that further charges are likely.