Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting suspect held without bail, accused of killing 5 people

Alleged shooter in fatal shooting faces possible hate crime charges five people Was ordered at Colorado Springs gay nightclub held without bail A preliminary court appearance on Wednesday.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, appeared in the video from prison and can be seen slumped over a chair with bruises on his face and head. Aldrich appeared to be prompted by defense attorneys when asked by El Paso County Court Judge Charlotte Ankeny to give his name.

Aldrich was beaten to submission by patrons during Saturday night shooting at club q And was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday. The motive for the shooting is still under investigation, but officials said he faces possible murder and hate crime charges.

Hate crime charges would require proving that the shooter was motivated by prejudice, such as against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The charges against Aldrich are preliminary, and prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges. Aldrich is represented by Joseph Archambault, Chief Trial Deputy, Office of the State Public Defender. Office of attorneys does not comment on matters to the media.

Defense attorneys said late Tuesday that the suspect is nonbinary. Standard court filings presented by the defense refer to the suspect as “Mx. Aldrich”, and the attorneys’ footnotes claim that Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. The motions concerned issues such as the gathering of sealed documents and evidence, not Aldrich’s identity, and there was no detail about this.


Colorado Springs Police Department

Aldrich’s name was changed six years ago as a teenager, after she filed a legal petition in Texas seeking to “protect herself” from a father with a criminal history, including domestic violence, against Aldrich’s mother.

Aldrich was known as Nicholas Franklin Brink until 2016. Before she turned 16, Aldrich petitioned a Texas court for a name change, court records show. On Brink’s behalf, his grandparents, who were his legal guardians at the time, submitted a petition for a name change.

The petition, filed in Bexar County, Texas, states, “The minor wishes to protect himself and his future from any association with the birth father and his criminal history. The father has had no contact with the minor for several years.” ”

The suspect’s father is a mixed martial arts fighter and pornography artist with an extensive criminal history, including convictions for battery against the alleged shooter’s mother, Laura Voepel, in state and federal courts, both before and after the suspect’s birth. Shows the records of A 2002 misdemeanor battery conviction in California resulted in a protective order that initially barred the father, Aaron F. Brink, from contacting the suspect or Vopel except through an attorney, but later allowed supervised visits with the child. Modified for.

According to public records, the father was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in custody for importing marijuana and violated his terms by testing positive for illegal steroids while on supervised release. Brink could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The request to change Aldrich’s name came months after Aldrich was apparently targeted by online bullying. A website posting from June 2015 that a teen named Nick Brink was assaulted suggests he may have been bullied in high school. The post included photos similar to those of the shooting suspect and ridiculed Brink for his weight, lack of money, and interest in Chinese cartoons.

Additionally, a YouTube account was opened in Brink’s name that included an animation titled “Asian lesbians molesting”.

The name change and bullying were first reported by The Washington Post.

Court documents related to Aldrich’s arrest were sealed at the request of prosecutors. Police said Aldrich had been released from the hospital and was being held at the El Paso County Jail.

Local and federal officials have declined to answer questions about why hate crime charges are being considered. District Attorney Michael Allen said the murder charges carry the harshest penalties — life in prison — while the prejudicial offenses are eligible for probation. He also said it is important to show the community that crimes motivated by bias are not tolerated.

Aldrich was arrested last year after his mother reported that her child had threatened her with homemade bombs and other weapons. Ring doorbell video obtained by The Associated Press shows Aldrich arriving at his mother’s front door with a large black backpack on the day of the 2021 bomb threat, telling her that police were nearby and adding , “This is where I stand. Today I die.”

Authorities said at the time that no explosives were found, but gun control advocates have asked why police did not use Colorado’s “red flag” laws to seize the weapons, Aldrich’s mother says. The child had

The weekend attack happened at a nightclub known as a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in this conservative city of about 480,000, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Denver.

A longtime Club Q patron who was shot in the back and thigh said the club’s reputation made it a target. Speaking in a video statement released by UC Health Memorial Hospital, Ed Sanders said he wondered what he would do in the aftermath of the 2016 mass shooting that killed 49 people at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“I think this incident underscores the fact that LGBT people need to be loved,” Sanders, 63, said.

Authorities said that Aldrich had used a long rifle in the attack, which was stopped by two club patrons, including Richard Fierro, who told reporters that he took a handgun from Aldrich, hit him with it, and waited until police arrived. With the help of another person, he was thrown down.

The victims were Raymond Green Vance, 22, a native of Colorado Springs who was saving money to get his own apartment; Ashley Pau, 35, a mom who helped find homes for foster children; Danielle Aston, 28, who worked as a bartender and entertainer at the club; Kelly Loving, 40, whose sister described her as “caring and sweet”; and Derrick Rump, 38, another club bartender known for his wit.

Databases run by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University show that every mass murder in the US since 2006 has been particularly bad this year. There have been 40 mass murders in the US so far this year, second only to 45 for all of 2019. The database defines a mass murder as the killing of at least four people, not including the murderer.


Beden is a core member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercover issues.


Associated Press reporters Bernard Condon in New York, Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, Amy Forliti in Minneapolis, Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana, Jill Bled in Little Rock, Arkansas, Stephanie Dazio in Los Angeles and news researcher Rhonda Schaffner in New York contributed.

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