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What we know about the suspect in the gay club mass shooting

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The man is suspected of committing the crime the horrific shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs over the weekend, also appears to have been arrested last summer after an alleged bomb threat and lengthy standoff with law enforcement.

Officials said Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, opened fire at the Club Q nightclub shortly before midnight Saturday, killing five and wounding at least 25 people. “Heroic” patrons stopped the shooter.

Little had been confirmed about Aldrich or his motive as of Sunday afternoon, but officials said they were investigating the attack as a hate crime.

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

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

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

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

Deputies found Aldrich at the home of Leslie Bowman, who was renting out the spare room of Aldrich’s mother, Laura Vopel. Bowman said Aldrich lived near his grandparents.

“Laura texted me and said, ‘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 said to 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 it was the police,” she said. “And I didn’t take it cool.”

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

“He was a physical presence, so I could understand why some people might find him scary,” she said.

Bowman said she called the police to find out what was going on.

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

Many law enforcement vehicles were parked near her house. Voepel was inside with her son for two hours before she left,” Bowman said.

“That’s when I learned about guns and explosives,” she said.

Deputies ended up evacuating 10 homes in the area and sending a text message to residents within a quarter-mile radius before Aldrich went outside and was arrested without incident, the release said. Bowman said the standoff lasted about three hours until a crisis negotiation team talked Aldrich out the front door.

He was arrested on two counts of criminal endangerment and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, though it’s unclear who was kidnapped. No explosives were found, according to the release.

“No one has contacted me to ask questions or give me any details, not the district attorney or anybody,” Bowman said. “Since the situation ended peacefully, I just got on with my life.”

Last month, she said, sheriff’s deputies came to her home again, but this time to check on Voepel, who she said no longer lives there. She didn’t know what had triggered the check.

In accordance with Colorado Springs Herald, no formal charges were filed against Aldrich and the case was dismissed. The district attorney’s office was not immediately returned on Sunday, but a spokesman for the DA declined to comment on the issue to other media outlets.

When Bowman first learned about the shooting and the identity of the suspect on Sunday, she was stunned. She got out of bed and started walking through the floors of her house.

She described herself as a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but wonders where Aldrich got his guns.

“I hope justice is served,” Bowman said. “I don’t think that was the case with the bomb threat situation last year. If he had, he would have been in prison and five people would not have died today.”

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

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