Club Q shooting victims file notices to sue El Paso County

A memorial listing the names of the five killed in a senseless act of violence in November 2022.
A memorial listing the names of the five killed in a senseless act of violence in November 2022.(KKTV)
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 9:49 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) - Several victims of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs and some of their family members have notified El Paso County officials they intend to file lawsuits, claiming the Sheriff’s Office “played a role” in the violence after it failed to invoke Colorado’s red flag gun law against the alleged shooter during an earlier 2021 bomb threat.

In nine notices of claim filed with the county in mid-May, attorneys claim the violence that erupted at the popular LGBTQIA+ club on North Academy Boulevard just before midnight on Nov. 19 “could have been entirely avoided had the El Paso County sheriff utilized the Colorado ‘red flag’ law.”

A notice of claim is not a lawsuit, but it informs a party that it may be liable for a claim for damages.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, faces more than 300 charges after allegedly killing five people and wounding more than two dozen in the fall shooting at the club.

Aldrich’s trial has yet to be scheduled; the suspect is expected back in El Paso County district court on June 26 for arraignment.

In eight separate notices of claim, attorneys Dan Lipman of Denver-based Parker Lipman LLP and David Neiman of Chicago-based Romanucci & Blandin LLC claim “members of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office negligently and unconscionably played a role in Anderson Aldrich possessing and using firearms inside Club Q ...” on Nov. 19-20, and that the Sheriff’s Office was “negligent and/or liable and such conduct or omissions were a cause of claimants injuries, demands and losses.”

Another notice, filed by Bufkin & Schneider Law LLC of Colorado Springs, recalls how the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners in March 2019 declared the county a “Second Amendment preservation county,” opposing Colorado’s then-proposed red flag gun law that allows law enforcement officials and private residents to petition a court for permission to confiscate guns from people considered a danger to themselves or others.

The Sheriff’s Office’s policy regarding the law also states, in part, “A member of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will not petition for an (extreme risk protection order) or (temporary risk protection order) unless exigent circumstances exist, and probable cause can be established pursuant to (Colorado statute) that a crime is being or has been committed.”

Bufkin & Schneider Law, in its notice, allege the board’s and Sheriff’s Office’s actions “prevented reasonable actions that could have been taken under the law to prevent the murders, assaults and crimes that took place Nov. 19, 2022 by ... Aldrich.”

The notices of claim stem from an incident in June 2021, during which Aldrich was arrested after claiming to have a bomb and threatening to use it.

In arrest records from the 2021 incident, Aldrich expressed a desire to become “the next mass shooter” and wanted to “go out in a blaze.”

Read the full article by our news partners The Gazette by clicking here.