The Club Q shooter in Colorado Springs was known to authorities for over a year before the massacre after a bomb threat report led to his arrest, according to a press release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Police identified and apprehended Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, last night after he entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs and immediately opened fire, killing five and wounding 18. Police officers reportedly arrived on the scene within three minutes after two people inside the club fought with Aldrich and prevented him from inflicting anymore damage.
U.S. Army veteran Richard Fierro was reportedly sitting with his wife and daughter when the gunman opened fire. Rushing toward him, Fierro was able to subdue him and hit Lee with his own firearm as police arrived on the scene. The second patron who helped subdue the shooter, Thomas James, has not yet spoken publicly.
The club was reportedly hosting a drag night and was planning to host a bunch this morning, November 20, to honor “Transgender Day of Remembrance.”
Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Adrian Vasquez said that Aldrich used a long rifle in the shooting and two other firearms were recovered at the scene. He also said that an investigation is underway to identify motive and whether this was a hate crime.
“Club Q is a safe haven for our LGBTQ citizens. Every citizen has the right to feel safe and secure in our city, to go about our beautiful city without fear of being harmed or treated poorly. I’m so terribly saddened and heartbroken,” Vasquez said.
Aldrich was known to police since June 2021 when the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, a county within Colorado Springs, responded to a bomb threat in the 9800 block of Rubicon Drive, according to KKTV.
“The reporting party said her son was threatening to cause harm to her with a homemade bomb, multiple weapons, and ammunition,” Lieutenant Deborah Mynatt with the Sheriff’s Office wrote in a release. “The reporting party was not in the home at the time when she made the call and was not sure where her son was.”
After authorities worked to evacuate people living in the area, the Crisis Negotiations Unit successfully got Aldrich to comply with orders and exit his home when he was found in the 6300 block of Pilgrimage Road.
The Regional Explosives Unit then searched and cleared both homes and did not find any explosive devices. Aldrich was charged with two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping.
Contrary to the 2021 statement, a mugshot of Aldrich has still not been released as of this writing.
Update, November 22: The shooter identifies as “non-binary” and uses “they/them” pronouns, according to court documents obtained by The New York Times.