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Anderson Lee Aldrich: What we know about the suspect in the Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub shooting




CNN
 — 

The suspect in a shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub this weekend has been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who police say walked into Club Q in Colorado Springs and immediately opened fire, killing five people and injuring 25 others.

Investigators have yet to determine a motive, Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said Sunday, though they are considering whether the attack was a hate crime. Aldrich has yet to be formally charged.

Here’s what we know about the suspected gunman.

Police received several 911 calls about the shooting beginning at 11:56 p.m., according to police. Officers were dispatched at 11:57 p.m. and an officer arrived at Club Q at midnight. The suspect was detained at 12:02 a.m., police said.

The shooting lasted only minutes because people inside the club were able to subdue the suspect, police said.

“At least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect,” Vasquez said. “We owe them a great debt of thanks.”

Matthew Haynes, one of the club’s owners, told The New York Times one of the customers “took down the gunman and was assisted by another.”

“He saved dozens and dozens of lives,” Haynes said of the first patron. “Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him.”

The suspect was taken into police custody and was being treated at a hospital Sunday, police said, adding officers did not shoot at the suspect.

A long rifle was used in the shooting, according to the police chief. Two firearms were recovered at the scene.

Two law enforcement sources told CNN records indicate the suspect purchased both weapons, an AR-style rifle and a handgun. CNN has not confirmed when those purchases were made.

The gunman appeared heavily armed and wearing a military-style flak jacket as he arrived at the club, the club’s owners told the Times, citing their review of surveillance footage.

Haynes said the gunman entered with “tremendous firepower,” the Times reported.

Aldrich was arrested in June 2021 in connection with a bomb threat which led to a standoff at his mother’s home, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at the time and his mother’s former landlord. Colorado Springs is in El Paso County.

Two law enforcement sources confirmed the suspect in Saturday’s shooting and the bomb threat were the same person based on his name and date of birth.

Video obtained by CNN shows Aldrich surrendering to law enforcement last year after allegedly making a bomb threat. Footage from the Ring door camera of the owner of the home shows Aldrich exiting the house with his hands up and barefoot, and walking to sheriff’s deputies.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report by the man’s mother he was “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” according to the release. Deputies called the suspect, and he “refused to comply with orders to surrender,” the release said, leading them to evacuate nearby homes.

Several hours after the initial police call, the sheriff’s crisis negotiations unit was able to get Aldrich to leave the house, and he was arrested after walking out the front door. Authorities did not find any explosives in the home.

Leslie Bowman, who owns the house where Aldrich’s mother lived, provided CNN with the videos. Aldrich’s mother rented a room in the house for a little over a year, Bowman said, and Aldrich would come visit his mother there. Attempts by CNN to reach Aldrich’s mother for comment were unsuccessful.

It is not immediately clear how the bomb threat case was resolved, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reported the district attorney’s office said no formal charges were pursued in the case. The district attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.

Aldrich’s arrest in connection to the bomb threat would not have shown up in background checks, according to the law enforcement sources who said records indicate he purchased the weapons, because the case was never adjudicated, the charges were dropped, and the records were sealed. It’s unclear what prompted the sealing of the records.

Aldrich also called the Gazette in an attempt to get an earlier story about the 2021 incident removed from the website, the newspaper reported. “There is absolutely nothing there, the case was dropped, and I’m asking you either remove or update the story,” Aldrich said in a voice message, according to the Gazette.

The revelation about the suspect’s run-in with law enforcement last year has raised questions about Colorado’s red flag law and whether it should have applied to Aldrich, or if it would have prevented the shooting at Club Q.

Colorado, which has been the site of numerous high-profile mass shootings in the last two decades, passed its red flag law in 2019. It’s intended to temporarily prevent an individual in crisis from accessing firearms through a court order, triggered by the individual’s family, a member of their household or a law enforcement officer.

It’s not clear if Aldrich had purchased firearms prior to his June 2021 arrest.

Asked Monday if the red flag law should have been implemented in Aldrich’s case, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said it was “too early to make any decisions.”

“It’s still a new tool that we are learning how to use,” Weiser said. “We know that each tragedy is a learning opportunity to ask what did we miss? What can we do better in the future?”


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