The alleged killer in the mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club ran a neo-Nazi website that included a video of shootings at synagogues and mosques, according to a detective who testified Wednesday in a hearing about whether Anderson Lee Aldrich should face hate crime charges.
The testimony came a day before the release of a new report finding that mass shootings in the United States are increasingly linked to extremists.
The detective, Rebecca Joines, testified that Aldrich, 22, did not make the video that appeared on the “neo-Nazi white supremacist” website he administered, the Associated Press reported.
She said the video, which has appeared on other extremist websites, is a shooter training video and includes video of the 2019 attacks on two mosques in New Zealand carried out by a white supremacist, and also featured attacks on synagogues and mosques in Europe.
It’s not clear which synagogues she referred to as appearing in the video, but the assailant in a deadly attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany in 2019 livestreamed his attack, apparently mimicking the New Zealand killer, who had done the same months earlier.
Joines’ testimony came on the first day of a hearing to determine whether Aldrich’s charges should be enhanced with hate crime charges. NBC reported in December that two websites Aldrich launched to promote unfettered speech morphed into sites promoting extremist violence. It’s not clear whether Aldrich posted all content, but a neighbor who was aware of the website told NBC that only an administrator could have posted videos.
The shooting in November in Club Q killed five people and injured at least 19. Defense lawyers say Aldrich, who they say identifies as nonbinary, was not driven by bigotry against LGBTQ people, but by mental illness and drug abuse.
Separately, an Anti-Defamation League study out on Thursday found that the percentage of mass shootings linked to extremism has spiked massively in the last decade.
The report said that between 1970 and 2010, mass killings attributable to extremism averaged two to seven per decade, but in the 2010-2020 period, that number climbed to 21.
The trend is continuing, with five extremist mass killings in 2021 and 2022, as many as there were throughout the entire 2000-2010 period, the ADL report notes.