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Detective Rebecca Joines testified on Wednesday in a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is evidence of a motive to support hate crime charges against the alleged 22-year-old shooter, whom The Daily Wire is not naming in keeping with a policy of depriving mass shooters of undeserved notoriety.
The suspect, a biological male, identifies as “non-binary” and uses the pronouns “they/them,” according to a court filing by public defender Joseph Archambault.
The prosecution argued evidence shows he had an “aversion to the LGBTQ community,” inspired by what Joines described as a “neo-Nazi white supremacist” shooting training video, according to The Washington Post.
Joines said the alleged shooter served as an administrator of a site featuring clips of mass shootings and stated her belief that he was trying to copy other mass shootings, including those in mosques and synagogues, and noted evidence suggests the suspect considered live-streaming the attack, per the Associated Press.
In addition, Joines talked about other online activities while presenting evidence. On Discord, the suspect shared an image of a rifle scope trained on a gay pride parade, Joines testified. Joines also said the alleged gunman used gay and racial slurs when playing video games.
He is accused of killing five people at Club Q last November while armed with an AR-style rifle and a handgun, and wearing a tan ballistic vest. The attack also resulted in more than a dozen other people being injured. Patrons managed to subdue the suspect until police arrived.
In addition to hate crime charges, the alleged killer faces murder and attempted murder charges. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Joines said friends claim the alleged shooter’s mother is “nonbinary” and forced her child to go to LGBTQ clubs.
Defense attorneys have argued their client, who has not yet entered a plea, is not anti-LGBTQ. They said he was taking a variety of mental health medications, suffered from sleep deprivation, and was abused at home.
A judge ruled on Thursday in favor of a jury trial and ordered the alleged shooter be held without bond. Arraignment is scheduled for May 30, and the judge ordered the man to undergo a mental health evaluation, according to FOX31 Denver.
Unsealed documents show the alleged shooter was previously arrested and faced charges in a 2021 bomb threat case in which he threatened family members and allegedly shared plans to become the “next mass killer.”
The charges were dropped when family members refused to cooperate with authorities, but the guns seized from the suspect at the time were not returned, according to El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen.