Editor’s Note: Read our latest coverage of the suspect here.
The suspect in a shooting at a Colorado LGBTQ nightclub this weekend has been identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who police say walked into Club Q in Colorado Springs and immediately opened fire, killing five people and injuring at least 19 others.
Aldrich, 22, faces five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury in connection to the shooting, according to an online docket in the El Paso County Courts.
The suspect was taken into police custody and was being treated at a hospital, police said, adding officers did not shoot at him. Aldrich remained hospitalized as of late Monday morning, when Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said the suspect had not made any statements to police, despite their attempts to interview him for the investigation.
“I haven’t heard that he has not been cooperative, just simply that he has determined not to speak to investigators,” Vasquez said, adding he expected charges would be formally filed “relatively soon after” Aldrich is released from the hospital.
Here’s what else we know about the suspected gunman.
Gunman entered with ‘tremendous firepower,’ owner says
Police received several 911 calls about the shooting beginning at 11:56 p.m. local time, 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.
Police said two firearms were recovered at the scene, including a long rifle Vasquez described in an interview with CNN as an AR-style weapon. The suspect also possessed a handgun, he told CNN on Monday, though the long rifle was the main weapon used in the shooting.
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 New York Times, citing their review of surveillance footage.
Matthew Haynes, one of the club’s owners, said the gunman entered with “tremendous firepower,” the Times reported.
While the suspect is already facing state charges, numerous federal agencies and offices, including the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, are aware of the shooting, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado said in a statement Monday. The office said it would “review all available facts of the incident to determine what federal response is warranted.”
Online court records showed Aldrich has no bond. The docket did not reflect whether he has retained an attorney.
Club patrons stopped the rampage
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.”
One customer “took down the gunman and was assisted by another,” Haynes told the Times.
“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.”
Among those injured was one of the people who stopped the gunman, Vasquez told CNN on Monday, adding the injury was non-life-threatening. The second person was not injured, Vasquez said.
He changed his name about 6 years ago
In 2016, the suspect – then known as Nicholas F. Brink – petitioned a Texas court to change his name, though it remains unclear why.
Just before his 16th birthday, the suspect asked a district court in Bexar County to allow him to legally change his name to Anderson Lee Aldrich.
A judge granted the petition days later, a summary of the case shows.
Suspect previously arrested in connection with a bomb threat
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.
In new video obtained by CNN, Aldrich appears to rant about the police and challenging them to breach the house where he was holed up.
“I’ve got the f**king sh*theads outside, look at that, they’ve got a bead on me,” Aldrich says on the video, pointing the camera at a window with blinds covering it. “You see that right there? F**king sh*theads got their f**king rifles out.”
“If they breach, I’mma f**king blow it to holy hell,” Aldrich adds, as he walks in and out of a bedroom.
He ends the video with what seems like a message to law enforcement outside: “So, uh, go ahead and come on in, boys! Let’s f**king see it!”
The video does not actually show any officers outside the house and it’s not clear from the video whether Aldrich had any weapons in the house.
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, which was seen in other video footage previously reported by CNN. 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. Vasquez said Monday she had not cooperated with the investigation into Saturday’s shooting, but authorities would “welcome an interview with her at any time.”
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.
Grandson of a California lawmaker
Aldrich is the grandson of outgoing California Assemblyman Randy Voepel, according to social media reports and CNN interviews.
Voepel, who has served as a state lawmaker since 2016, lost his re-election bid earlier this month. He could not be reached for comment. It’s unclear how much Voepel, the father of Aldrich’s mother, interacted with his grandson.
As a lawmaker, Voepel attracted attention when he compared the January 6 attack on the US Capitol to the Revolutionary War.
“This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny,” he said, according to The San Diego Union Tribune. “Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear in on January 20th.”
Voepel later tried to walk back his comments by tweeting a statement which read in part, “I do not condone or support the violence and lawlessness that took place on Wednesday, January 6th, at our nation’s capital. The loss of life, theft of government property, and blatant disregard for law and order is reprehensible and unnecessary.”
Suspect’s background puts spotlight on Colorado red flag law
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?”
CNN’s Amanda Watts, Nelli Black, Casey Tolan, John Miller, Michelle Watson, Blake Ellis, Rob Kuznia, Daniel A. Medina, Scott Glover, Scott Bronstein, and Majlie de Puy Kamp contributed to this report.