Glimpses into the troubled life of the Club Q mass shooting suspect

In the months leading up to the police statement, Anderson Aldrich opened fire on an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring 18 otherstheir mother posted in a Facebook group for women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asking for help for her child.

In February, she asked for recommendations for a “trauma/PTSD therapist,” writing in a comment that it was a “21-year-old,” the same age as Aldrich at the time.

Almost three months later, she asked if anyone could refer her child – who she described as “6’6″ tall and hits like a freight train” – to a private boxing trainer.

“Couldn’t find a good gym or someone serious,” she wrote. The message stated that her child had “made huge changes in his life and needed it!”

On Saturday night, authorities allege Aldrich walked into Club Q and opened fire. Four days later, mystery still surrounds him. Police did not provide a motive for the attack, and it appears Aldrich had little social media or online presence.

Scattered elements of his biography — a change of name, a 2021 arrest in which their mother accused them of threatening her with a pipe bomb, a family connection to a California lawmaker – have emerged. But much is still unknown.

Aldrich was arrested this week on suspicion of murder and bias-motivated crimes causing bodily harm in connection with the nightclub shooting, police say. Aldrich’s attorneys requested a preliminary hearing in the case, according to a filing Tuesday with the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, but did not respond to another request for comment. The new filing indicates that Aldrich is non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them.

Aldrich was born May 20, 2000, to Laura Voepel and Aaron Brink in California, according to Orange County court records. The following year, Brink filed for divorce and Voepel was granted full custody of their child, with no visitation rights granted to Brink.

In the following years, Aldrich moved with their mother to Texas and then to Colorado, sometimes living with their maternal grandmother. They also have a younger brother, according to Voepel’s Facebook page.

Aldrich is the grandson of California Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Santee), a lawmaker aide told The Times on Monday. The probably single term state representative had previously aligned himself with the Tea Party movement and later drew criticism for comments that compared the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol to the shots fired at “Lexington and Concord” during the Revolutionary War. Randy Voepel declined to comment further on his grandson on Monday, the aide said.

Court records show that Aldrich’s parents have criminal records. Laura Voepel was convicted of a reduced charge of criminal mischief in San Antonio and sentenced to five years probation, according to court documents.

Brink, Aldrich’s father, had also been arrested on drug-related charges and other crimes. Brink was an MMA fighter, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. He appeared in an episode of the reality TV series “Intervention,” according to his IMDb page.

Bexar County, Texas court records show that Aldrich filed in 2016 to officially change his name to Anderson Lee Aldrich. The request was approved on May 4, 2016.

According to the Associated Press, a petition for the name change says Aldrich wanted to protect their future “from any connection to the biological father and his criminal history. The father has had no contact with the minor for several years.

The Washington Post reported that Aldrich had endured a “particularly vicious episode of online bullying”.

The attorney representing the family in the case did not respond to questions from The Times.

Brink said his ex-wife told him that Aldrich had changed his name because they were embarrassed by him and Aldrich was dead, The New York Times reported. But months ago, Aldrich called Brink. The conversation turned into an argument, with Aldrich threatening to beat his father.

Brink, who identifies as a religious and conservative Republican, said he expressed disapproval of gay people when Aldrich was younger, but expressed sympathy for the families of the shooting victims.

Aldrich was arrested in June 2021 in a suburban Colorado Springs neighborhood where they and their mother lived at the time, after Voepel reported that her child threatened her with “a pipe bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition.” . according to a press release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. The incident ended in a lengthy confrontation with deputies and the evacuation of nearby homes, but officials said they found no explosive devices after Aldrich was arrested. The charges were dismissed, although officials did not explain the decision.

The incident happened at the home of Leslie Bowman, who at the time was renting a room from Aldrich’s mother. Bowman shared videos from her Ring security camera of the incident, which showed Aldrich – who she said was going by Andy – entering her house with a suitcase, while talking to their mother.

In the video, Aldrich tells their mother, “The police surrounded this house. That’s where I’m at, okay? … Today, I die.

Voepel replied: “What’s going on?”

“They don’t care about me anymore, clearly,” Aldrich replied.

It’s not clear from the video who they are referring to. In another video recorded by Bowman from a Facebook Live stream, which Bowman said Aldrich posted during the confrontation, Aldrich can be seen wearing what appears to be a helmet and some sort of body armor.

“It’s your boy,” they said on the recorded livestream. “If they break, I’m [sic] f—ing blow it to holy hell!

In the latest Ring video of the incident, Aldrich was seen leaving Bowman’s house about three hours later, surrendering with his hands up. They no longer wore helmets or bulletproof vests. The report from the sheriff’s office indicates that they were arrested without any problems.

Bowman said Aldrich’s mother left the room she was renting about two days later and hadn’t followed either Voepel or Aldrich since. At the time, Aldrich lived about a mile away with their grandparents — the same grandparents who helped change their name — but often visited their mother, Bowman said. She said the teenager was never talkative and mother and son often watch movies together.

They would “come once in a while, sometimes once or twice a week,” Bowman said. She described Aldrich as “pretty quiet”.

She said there was only one other incident in which Aldrich became aggressive, getting in her face and slamming the door on her after an argument between Bowman and Voepel in early 2020. But Bowman said that they didn’t become physically violent, and she noted that. to protect their mother. Bowman said she didn’t know if Aldrich, then 20, was in school or working.

Nor is there any public record indicating that the police or relatives attempted to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law after Aldrich’s arrest in 2021, which could have allowed authorities to seize any weapons or ammunition in Aldrich’s possession, or prevent them from purchasing any, at least temporarily.

Bowman said she remains concerned that the original charges against Aldrich have been dropped.

“In an incident as serious as this, there should be at least some kind of plea agreement, just something, to keep [them] on the radar,” Bowman said. “If these charges were pursued, [they] would probably be in jail or some sort of probation,… [and] it wouldn’t have happened.

Times staff writers Hannah Wiley and Terry Castleman contributed to this report.

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