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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Woodward

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


A suspect has been taken into custody after five people were killed and 25 others injured during a mass shooting inside a LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs on 19 November.

Police officers responded to the scene shortly after midnight after 911 dispatchers received “numerous” calls that there was an active shooter inside the club.

On Sunday morning, Colorado Springs Police identified the suspected shooter as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich.

He was hospitalised with undisclosed injuries.

Club Q said it was “devastated” by the attack and called the incident a “hate attack”.

According to law enforcement officials, the gunman “immediately” opened fire into the club just before midnight during a dance event that was set to finish at 2am.

Here’s what we know so far:

Who is the Colorado Springs shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich?

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was named as the suspected gunman on Sunday morning.

The suspect was taken into custody at the scene and transported to hospital for unspecified injuries.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said Mr Aldrich entered the club and began firing a long rifle before being subdued by witnesses.

Two guns were recovered at the scene.

A motive has not yet been determined.

Does he have a criminal history?

Law enforcement officials said the suspect’s previous “interactions with law enforcement” are part of an investigation into the attack.

A person with the same name and age was arrested by El Paso County sheriff’s deputies last year, after the suspect’s mother told police that he was “threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition.”

Yet the district attorney’s office told Colorado Springs newspaper The Gazette that no formal charges had been filed and that the case had been sealed.

Howard Black, spokesman for the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, told The Denver Post that the incident “is all part of the investigation and will be released as appropriate.”

Mr Aldrich will likely face a charge of first-degree murder, according to District Attorney Michael Allen.

What do we know about his family?

The Colorado shooting suspect may be the grandson of a Republican state legislator who praised the Capitol riot, according to public records and social media posts seen by The Independent.

A man with the same name and age as the suspect – 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich – is listed as having lived at the same address as 45-year-old Laura Voepel, who was identified by The New York Times as his mother.

Ms Voepel, in turn, is listed as a relative of California assemblyman Randy Voepel, 72, who said of the Capitol riot: “This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny."

In a string of Facebook posts first reported by the breaking news website Heavy, a person by the name of Laura Voepel referred to Randy Vopel as "Dad" and "my father", at one point telling him to "keep up the good work".

Other Facebook posts by Ms Voepel describe her buying a military camouflage suit for her son’s 15th birthday; asking for recommendations for a boxing coach; seeking a trauma and PTSD therapist seemingly for her son; and, after the 2021 bomb threat incident, asking if anyone knew a “fantastic defence attorney” who could help the family out.

Randy Voepel’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Phone numbers listed as belonging to Ms Voepel were either out of service or did not pick up.

How did the shooting unfold?

The shooting took place after Club Q held a punk and alternative drag event hosted by performer Del Lusional.

The show began at 9pm, followed by a DJ and dancing from 11pm that was scheduled to go to 2am.

“I was walking backstage when I heard the gunshots. I only saw the after math and even then, I didn’t wanna look,” Del Lusional wrote in a post on Twitter.

In another post, the performer said: “I never thought this would happen to me and my bar. I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t stop hearing the shots.”

The suspect was reportedly armed with an AR-15-style rifle. Two firearms were recovered, according to law enforcement officials.

One victim ran from the scene to a nearby 7-Eleven and collapsed, according to a witness who spoke with Colorado Public Radio.

“One of the victims had gotten shot seven times and ran over here … trying to get some help,” he said. “He collapsed. That’s why that caution tape is out in the front there.”

Another witness told reporters on Sunday morning that he heard “four or five shots” while on the dance floor, then heard more gunfire and saw “the flash from the muzzle of the gun” before running into a dressing room in the back of the club and dropping to the floor.

The first call to 911 arrived at 11.56pm, and an officer was dispatched at 11.57pm.

Officers arrived on the scene at midnight, and a suspect was taking into custody at 12.02am.

A post on the club’s Facebook page said that people inside the building helped stop the gunman.

“Our [prayers] and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends,” according to a post on the club’s Facebook page. “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

More than 30 firefighters and 11 ambulances responded to the scene, and ambulances transported three patients at a time to local hospitals.

During an early morning press conference, police spokesperson Lt Pam Castro stressed that “the investigation is in the very initial stages” and declined to discuss a motive.

Lt Castro added that said the number of dead and wounded may be “subject to change as the investigation continues.”

The FBI also is assisting the Colorado Springs Police Department with the investigation.

This is a developing story

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