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Who is Anderson Lee Aldrich, suspect in mass shooting at Colorado gay nightclub?

People attend a candlelight vigil in Los Angeles for victims of the gay nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Dean Bright, center, of West Hollywood, attends a candlelight vigil along Santa Monica Boulevard on Sunday in Los Angeles. City leaders and community organizations held the vigil in solidarity with the LGBTQ community of Colorado Springs, Colo., where at least five people were shot to death at a nightclub late Saturday.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
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The man suspected of carrying out the horrific shooting inside a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub over the weekend appears to have also been arrested last summer following an alleged bomb threat and long standoff with law enforcement.

Officials said Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, opened fire inside the Club Q nightclub just before midnight Saturday, killing five and wounding at least 25, before “heroic” patrons stopped the gunman.

Little has been confirmed about Aldrich or his motives as of Sunday afternoon, but officials have said they are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

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Aldrich doesn’t appear to have a public presence on social media. He was taken into custody just minutes after the shooting began, officials said.

June 2021 screenshot of Anderson Lee Aldrich.
June 2021 screenshot of Anderson Lee Aldrich.
(Leslie Bowman)

Aldrich is the grandson of California Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Santee), an aide for the legislator told The Times on Monday. Voepel did not wish to comment Monday night, the aide said.

A gunman opened fire shortly before midnight at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five and injuring 25. A suspect was subdued and is in custody.

Nov. 20, 2022

It appears Aldrich was previously arrested in June 2021 after a woman reported her son had threatened her with “a homemade bomb, multiple weapons and ammunition,” according to a press release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. The man arrested in the incident — following a long standoff with deputies and the evacuation of nearby homes — had the same name and matching age as Aldrich.

Authorities have not confirmed if the two men are the same.

In the June 2021 incident, deputies found Aldrich, then age 21, in a suburban Colorado Springs home — about 15 miles from Club Q — where he refused to surrender to officers, the report said.

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Deputies found Aldrich inside Leslie Bowman’s home, who was renting out a spare room to Aldrich’s mother Laura Voepel. Bowman said Aldrich was staying nearby with his grandparents.

Colorado Authorities said Sunday that a gunman who opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado — killing five and injuring 25 — was subdued by “heroic” patrons who hit him with his own gun.

Nov. 20, 2022

“Laura texted me and asked, ‘Hey, when are you coming home?’ I said I’d be there in 30 minutes to an hour,” Bowman recalled in an interview Sunday. “She told me, `Well, don’t come home. Some people are looking for Andy (Anderson Aldrich).’’’

Bowman, 41, was alarmed.

“When she said people were looking for Andy, I thought maybe it was the police,” she said. “And I wasn’t cool with that.”

A candlelight vigil will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. in West Hollywood to express solidarity with the LGBTQ community of Colorado Springs after a shooting at a gay nightclub.

Nov. 20, 2022

Bowman described Aldrich as a big man. She said he was quiet and didn’t socialize much.

“He was physically imposing, so I could see why some people might find him intimidating,” she said.

Bowman said she called the police to see what was happening.

“I didn’t know the severity of the situation but they said, ‘Don’t go to your house,’” Bowman said.

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Numerous law enforcement vehicles were outside her home. Voepel was inside with her son for two hours before she left,” Bowman said.

“It was then that I found out about the weapons and explosives,” she said.

Deputies ended up evacuating 10 homes in the area and sending out a text alert to residents in the quarter-mile radius, before Aldrich walked outside and was arrested without issue, the release said. Bowman said the standoff lasted about three hours, until a crisis negotiations unit talked Aldrich into coming out the front door.

He was arrested on charges of two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, though it’s unclear who was kidnapped. No explosives were found, the release said.

“No one followed up with me to ask questions or give me any details, not the district attorney, not anyone,” Bowman said. “Since the situation ended peacefully, I just went on with my life.”

Last month, she said, sheriff’s deputies again came by her home, but this time for a wellness check on Voepel, who she said no longer lives there. She did not know what prompted the check.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, no formal charges were pursued against Aldrich and the case was sealed. A call to the district attorney’s office Sunday was not returned but a spokesman for the D.A. declined to comment on the issue to other media outlets.

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When Bowman first learned of the shooting and the suspect’s identity Sunday, she was stunned. She got out of bed and paced the floors of her house.

She called herself a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment yet wonders how Aldrich got a gun.

“I hope justice is served,” Bowman said. “I don’t think it was with the bomb threat situation last year. If it was, he would be in jail and five people would not be dead today.”

Times staff writers Hannah Wiley in Sacramento, Kevin Rector in Colorado Springs and Jack Dolan in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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