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Suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich in the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs is nonbinary and injured by patrons, held without bail

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, could be seen slumped over in a chair with injuries he suffered when patrons attacked him after he allegedly opened fire in the gay nightclub.



Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, could be seen slumped over in a chair with injuries he suffered when patrons attacked him after he allegedly opened fire in the gay nightclub.

Following their release from the hospital the previous day, the person who is suspected of carrying out the shooting that resulted in the deaths of five people at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs is scheduled to make their initial court appearance from behind bars on Wednesday. They may be charged with a hate crime in connection with the incident.

The 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was allegedly beaten into submission by patrons during the shooting that took place on Saturday night at Club Q, was set to appear at the court by video. Although the investigators have not yet determined Aldrich’s motivation for the killing, they have stated that he could be charged with murder as well as a hate crime.

To be convicted of a hate crime, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted out of hostility toward the victims’ real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The charges that have been brought against Aldrich thus far are only preliminary, and the prosecutors have not yet filed official charges against him. Joseph Archambault, who is a principal trial deputy with the state public defender’s office, is representing Aldrich in this case as his attorney. The firm’s attorneys do not provide any remark to the media regarding the issues they are working on.

Late Tuesday night, counsel for the defense confirmed that their client is nonbinary. In the standard court files that the defense team has sent in, the suspect is referred to as “Mx. Aldrich,” and the footnotes that the attorneys have included in those filings state that Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. The motions address topics such as unsealing papers and gathering evidence; they do not address the identity of Aldrich, and there was no further explanation given regarding it.

Aldrich’s name was altered as a teenager to “protect himself” from a violent father who had abused Aldrich’s mother.

Up until 2016, Aldrich was known by his birth name, Nicholas Franklin Brink. According to the records from the Texas court, Aldrich filed a petition with the court to alter his name several weeks before he turned 16. Their grandparents, who were acting as their legal guardians at the time, put in a request to have Brink’s name changed on their behalf, and the request was granted.

“Minor expresses a desire to shield himself and his future from any potential ties to his biological father and the criminal past of the birth father. Since the father hasn’t had any interaction with the child in several years, “said the petition that was submitted in the Texas county of Bexar.

According to the records of both state and federal courts, the alleged shooter’s mother, Laura Voepel, was a victim of battery committed by the suspect’s father before and after the alleged shooter was born. The suspect’s father is a mixed martial arts fighter and a pornography performer with an extensive criminal history. Among his convictions is one for battery committed against the alleged shooter’s mother. A misdemeanor battery conviction in the state of California in 2002 led to the issuance of a protective order, which at first prohibited the child’s father, Aaron F. Brink, from communicating with the suspect or Voepel in any way other than through an attorney. However, this provision was later amended to permit supervised visits with the child.

According to public records, the father was given an additional term of two and a half years in prison for the importation of marijuana. Additionally, while the father was on supervised release, he violated the conditions of his parole by testing positive for illegal steroids. On Tuesday, attempts to get a comment from Brink were unsuccessful.

The name change request that Aldrich submitted was made some months after it appeared that Aldrich was the target of internet bullying. It was suggested that the individual was bullied throughout their time at high school in an article that was published on a website in June 2015 and named Nick Brink. The post made fun of Brink for their weight, their lack of money, and what it said was an interest in Chinese cartoons. The post also included photos that were similar to ones of the person suspected of shooting Brink.

In addition to this, an account on YouTube was created under Brink’s name, and it featured an animation with the title “Asian homosexual is molested.”

The Washington Post was the first publication to publish both the name change and the bullying.

At the request of the prosecuting attorneys, the court documents that detailed Aldrich’s arrest were sealed. According to the police, Aldrich was transferred from the hospital to the El Paso County jail when his treatment there was completed.

Authorities on both the local and federal levels have refused to answer questions regarding the reasons why hate crime charges are being examined. District Attorney Michael Allen stated that the charges of murder would result in the most severe punishment, which is life in prison, whereas prejudice crimes might result in probation. In addition to this, he emphasized the significance of demonstrating to the community that offenses motivated by racism will not be allowed.

The incident that led to Aldrich’s arrest occurred a year ago, when their mother stated that her son had threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons. On the day of the bomb threat in 2021, a video captured by a Ring doorbell and acquired by the Associated Press showed Aldrich showing up at their mother’s front door with a large black suitcase, informing her that the police were nearby and adding, “This is where I stand. Today I die.”

At the time, authorities stated that no explosives were discovered; nonetheless, advocates for stricter gun control have questioned why Colorado’s “red flag” laws were not used by police to take the firearms that Aldrich’s mother claims her child possessed.

This predominantly conservative city of approximately 480,000 people is located about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Denver. The assault took place over the weekend at a nightclub that is recognized as a haven for the LGBTQ community.

A longtime customer of Club Q who was injured by gunfire in the back and thigh has stated that the club’s notoriety made it a target. Ed Sanders, who was interviewed for a video statement that was distributed by UC Health Memorial Hospital, stated that he had contemplated what he would do in the event of a mass shooting following the killing of 49 people in 2016 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida called Pulse.

Sanders, who is 63 years old, was quoted as saying, “I think this incident highlights the fact that LGBT people need to be embraced.” “I want to have a strong character. I’m a survivor. I’m not going to let some ill guy get me down.”

Two clubgoers, including Richard Fierro, were able to put an end to the attack before the police came. Fierro told reporters that he stole a revolver from Aldrich, beat the assailants with it, and pinned them down with the assistance of another person until the police arrived.

Raymond Green Vance, 22, was saving money to have his own apartment; Ashley Paugh, 35, helped place foster children; Daniel Aston, 28, worked at the club as a bartender and comedian; Kelly Loving, 40, was characterized as “caring and sweet”; and Derrick Rump, 38, was a witty bartender.

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