On Saturday, a gunman killed five people and injured at least 25 others in Colorado Springs, Colo., marking yet another senseless shooting in America by a young male who appears to have targeted a not-so-protected community.
According to NPR, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich has been identified as the suspected shooter who was armed with a handgun and what the police chief described as an “AR-style platform” long gun along with multiple magazines and ammunition when he entered Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub, where two patrons reportedly helped take him down before he could do more damage.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said the gunman began shooting as soon as he entered the nightclub. At least two people helped subdue the gunman, which the chief described as heroic.
“We owe them a great debt of thanks,” he said at a news conference Sunday.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told NPR that one of the patrons “took the handgun from the [shooter] and hit him with the handgun to disable him.”
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.
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. Authorities did not find any explosives in the home.
So not only did Aldrich survive an hours-long armed standoff with police, who, curiously enough, did not fear for their lives enough to use deadly force, but Aldrich was free a little more than a year later to carry out the killing of five and injuring of dozens more on Saturday. In fact, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the district attorney’s office said no formal charges were pursued in the case, which has since been sealed for whatever reason.
We also know Aldrich is the grandson of MAGA Republican Assemblyman Randy Voepel of California.
Unsurprisingly, Voepel found himself in hot water previously for appearing to praise Jan. 6 Capitol rioters by likening them to soldiers in the Revolutionary War.
Just three days after the riot, Randy Voepel told the Union-Tribune: “This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny.
“Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the [Joe] Biden swear-in on January 20.”
Considering the recent rise in right-wing attacks on the LGBTQ community, it’s not surprising that many on social media aren’t waiting for the police investigation to conclude before alleging that conservative hatred was responsible for the Club Q shooting.
It’s also worth mentioning that the last post Club Q made to its Facebook page before the shooting was a promotion for an all-ages Drag Brunch event, according to Newsweek.
In other words, this shooting shows all the hallmarks of an anti-LGBTQ hate crime, and it’s sure to prompt yet another national debate about guns and gun access in America.
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