Dec 7, 2022 - News

Club Q shooter wanted to be "the next mass killer," documents show

Anderson Lee Aldrich, center, sits during a court appearance in Colorado Springs on Tuesday. Photo: El Paso County District Court via AP

Anderson Lee Aldrich, center, during a court appearance in Colorado Springs yesterday. Photo: El Paso County District Court via AP

The suspect in the Club Q shooting had vowed to become "the next mass killer" in June 2021, AP reports, citing sealed court documents, but the charges stemming from a standoff were dropped, and there is no record of guns being seized at the time.

Driving the news: Anderson Lee Aldrich had allegedly stockpiled weapons, ammo, body armor and a homemade bomb at a family member's house. If a police SWAT team came inside the home, it would blow "to holy hell" Aldrich told relatives, documents show.

  • Aldrich surrendered without incident in 2021, but the grandparents fled and 10 nearby homes were evacuated.

Why it matters: The revelation is leading victims of the Nov. 19 shooting at Club Q to question the actions of law enforcement and prosecutors in Colorado Springs.

  • Under Colorado's "red flag" law, Aldrich's family or law enforcement could have asked a judge to seize the weapons with an extreme risk protection order, but no action was initiated. El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder opposed the red flag law when it passed in 2019.
  • Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat who backed the law, says the oversight needs to be investigated.
  • The sheriff's office and the local district attorney have refused to explain why charges were dropped and the case was sealed.

What they're saying: "It makes no sense," said Jerecho Loveall, a former Club Q dancer who was shot. "If they would have taken this more seriously and done their job, the lives we lost, the injuries we sustained and the trauma this community has faced would not have happened."

  • "It was absolutely preventable," said Wyatt Kent, who held the hand of a woman as she bled to death on top of him, and who also lost his partner that night.

Of note: Aldrich appeared in court Tuesday, where prosecutors filed 305 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, assault and hate crimes.

  • Aldrich entered the Club Q nightclub just before midnight clad in body armor and carrying an AR-15-style rifle. The 22-year-old is accused of killing five and injuring about 20 others.

What to watch: The sealed documents were first obtained by Colorado Springs TV station KKTV and AP verified them with a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the sealed case.

  • AP and other news organizations are asking a judge to unseal the entire case file. A hearing is scheduled this week.

The other side: Aldrich told the Gazette in Colorado Springs about spending two months in jail after the 2021 incident, but asked the newspaper to remove or update its coverage after charges were dropped.

  • "There is absolutely nothing there, the case was dropped," Aldrich said in a 2021 phone message, adding, "It is damaging to my reputation."
  • Aldrich, who attorneys say goes by non-binary pronouns, was born Nicholas Franklin Brink. Aldrich filed for a name change in 2016, according to court documents. The filing came after online bullying and embarrassment regarding father, Aaron Brink, who has a criminal record and was a porn actor.

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