Club Q victims plan to sue EPCSO for failing to implement Colorado’s Red Flag law

EL PASO COUNTY, Colorado — Survivors of a mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs plan to sue the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, claiming law enforcement failed to trigger Colorado’s red flag law, which gives authorities a confiscating the suspect’s guns after an incident in 2021 that the suspect said was the prelude to them becoming “the next mass murderer” in America.

The lawsuits were filed in mid-May by Chicago’s Romanucci & Blandin LLC and the Denver law firm of Parker Lipman LLP on behalf of James Slaugh, Tiffany Loving, Ashtin and Ryan Gamblin, JanCarlos Del Valle, Adriana Vance, Charlene Slaugh. John Arcediano and Anthony Malburg and Jeremy Gold.

According to the documents, the victims are each seeking $20 million in damages.

The lawsuits cite the June 18, 2021 incident that led to the arrest of Anderson Lee Aldrich – the 23-year-old suspect who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns “they/them” – after reportedly bombing – and made gun threats against her mother. This led to an hour-long standoff, which eventually ended with the suspect surrendering to El Paso County officials. Due to a lack of cooperation from witnesses, first-degree felony and first-degree kidnapping charges were never brought and the case was dropped four months before the fatal Club Q shooting.

Club Q Shooting

In 2021, the judge warned about the Club-Q suspect’s shooting plans

11:58 am, December 16, 2022

“Despite the dismissal of the criminal charges and the sealing of the files, the sheriff’s office could still have filed an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) because Aldrich’s violent behavior indicated that he posed a significant risk of harming himself or others as a result. “Firearms under his control or through the purchase or possession of a firearm,” the documents said.

Under Colorado’s Extreme Risk Protection Orders law, a judge can order a person’s firearms to be confiscated if they pose a danger to themselves or others. The request must be made by either family members or law enforcement officials, and a judge can issue a restraining order against the person for up to two weeks pending a hearing to determine whether a full protection order is required. If approved, a full protection order is valid for up to one year.

The victims, through their attorneys, accused the sheriff’s office of being “negligently and unscrupulously” involved in the events of the fatal massacre by failing to prevent the suspect from possessing or using firearms after his arrest in 2021.

However, in December last year, a sheriff’s office said that filing an extreme risk protection order was not necessary because a mandatory protection order was already in place at that point, CPR News said. This order, like an ERPO, prohibits the possession of weapons.

Denver 7+ Colorado News Breaking Headlines | June 5, 11 a.m

El Paso County has been particularly hostile to the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Ordinance. Even before it went into effect in 2019, the county was among 2,000 others nationwide to declare themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries, passing an executive order earlier this year that specifically withheld funds or personnel to enforce the law.

Former El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder previously said he would only remove guns on orders from family members and has refused to go to court himself for a permit unless there are “urgent circumstances.” before.

“We will not take personal property from people without due process,” Elder said as the law neared passage in 2019.

According to the Associated Press, the county, which has a population of 730,000, had seen 13 temporary gun seizures by the end of last year, four of which resulted in prolonged gun seizures of at least six months.

In response to the lawsuits, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said in a statement Monday that it would not comment on the pending litigation.

The November 19, 2022 Club Q mass shooting killed five people and injured more than a dozen others. The suspect faces more than 300 charges, including first-degree murder, assault and biased offences.

An indictment is scheduled for June 26 at 8:30 am

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