According to new information emerging from sealed court documents, Anderson Lee Aldrich’s previous arrest should have warranted action by authorities prior to the fatal shooting they carried out at Club Q, in Colorado Springs, USA.
The Club Q attack was not Aldrich’s first criminal offence. The suspect was previously arrested in 2021 after reportedly threatening their family with a homemade bomb and other weapons which led to SWAT teams and a bomb squad being dispatched to their home.
Ten houses were evacuated to avoid a potential bomb blast and Aldrich live-streamed the episode on Facebook, while wearing body armour and threatening police officers. According to Colorado court documents obtained by the Associated Press, during that 2021 standoff, the Club Q shooter stated that they wanted to become “the next mass killer.”
The incident should have set off Colorado’s ‘red flag’ gun laws, which allow a judge to confiscate weapons from people posing a risk of violence. Had the law been implemented correctly, the suspect would have lost access to those weapons before being charged or convicted. Instead, all charges related to the standoff were dropped and the lack of action by law enforcement allowed Aldrich to continue to own weapons.
“It appears obvious that an Extreme Risk Protection Order law could have and should have been utilized, which would have removed the suspect’s firearms and could very well have prevented this tragedy,” said a spokesperson for Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “There were many warning signs.”
We will never forget the five lives lost at Club Q. pic.twitter.com/Hk5ArFYcDu
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) November 30, 2022
Jerecho Loveall, one of the people injured during the Club Q attack, commented saying: “If they would have taken this more seriously and done their job, the lives we lost, the injuries we sustained, and the trauma this community has faced would not have happened.”
“There is no reason why (they) should have had access to an assault rifle… especially for someone who has been quoted saying ‘I’m going to be the next mass shooter,”’ Loveall said.
Since the attack which killed five people, Aldrich has been formally charged with 305 criminal counts including murder and hate crimes. The Colorado governor has vowed to “take a hard look” at why the ‘red flag’ law was ignored in 2021.
Moreover, the FBI is now investigating a racist website with video content potentially connected to Aldrich. A neighbour reportedly told investigators that Aldrich created a “free speech” website earlier this year for users to post racist and anti-semitic memes. A link on the website leads to four videos that were posted hours prior to the Club Q shooting. They appear to show Aldrich’s reflection in a rearview mirror and a voice that “sounds very, very similar” to Aldrich’s.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a warning about American extremists posing a “persistent and lethal threat” to LGBTQ+ and migrant communities. The report stated that officials have observed domestic extremists inside the United States praising the Club Q attack on online forums in what they fear could lead to further violence.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.