Police mugshots of the suspect in the attack on a Colorado LGBTQ venue have been released after the accused appeared in court for the first time.
The images of Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was arrested in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Q Club venue in Colorado Springs, were released by the city’s police department.
Five people were shot dead and at least 25 injured in the incident on Saturday night.
The mugshots show Aldrich with visible injuries on their face and neck which are thought to be as a result of “heroic people” who intervened when they saw what was happening.
Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers paid tribute to two people including 15-year US Army veteran Richard Fierro, who was sitting nearby when the shooting started.
Mr Fierro, who has completed three tours of Iraq and one in Afghanistan, said he rushed at the suspect, pulled them to the ground, took a handgun from them and hit them with it.
Another club-goer, Thomas James, removed the gun and kicked the suspect, while a drag performer stomped on the suspect’s face with high heels, Mr Fierro said.
“I wish I could have done more,” the veteran added. “But those (five) people aren’t home tonight, and I am. And I’m really upset by that. It’s not something I’m proud of.”
After being beaten into submission by club patrons, police took the suspect to hospital to be treated for their injuries.
Aldrich was then moved to El Paso County Jail on Tuesday.
The suspect made their first court appearance via video link from the jail on Wednesday, where they could be seen slumped in a chair with visible bruising on their face.
Two defence lawyers appeared to need to prompt Aldrich during the brief video appearance.
The suspect spoke twice, with a slurred response, confirming their name and to say “no” when the judge asked whether they had any questions.
Late on Tuesday, defence lawyers said the accused is nonbinary and in a footnote to their filing asserted that Aldrich prefers using the pronouns “they” and “them”.
While the motive for the shooting is still under investigation and prosecutors are yet to file formal charges, authorities said Aldrich faces possible murder and hate crime charges.
Hate crime charges would require prosecutors to prove that the alleged perpetrator was motivated by bias, such as against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Aldrich was ordered to be held without bail.
El Paso County Court Judge Charlotte Ankeny set the next hearing for 6 December.