Club Q shooting suspect makes first court appearance; wanted to be ‘next mass shooter,’ 2021 arrest papers show

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Anderson Lee Aldrich, accused of fatally shooting five people and wounding 18 others at Club Q in Colorado Springs over the weekend, wanted to be “the next mass shooter,” according to arrest documents from last year acquired by Gazette news partner KKTV.

Aldrich, whose attorneys said identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, made a bomb threat while in the family basement because Aldrich was upset that their grandparents were planning to move to Florida, the 2021 arrest affidavit alleges.

The suspect in last weekend’s attack at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ club that left five dead and 18 others wounded was in court for the first time Wednesday morning, answering three basic questions while handcuffed and wearing an orange protective suit.

The suspect in Saturday night’s shooting at the popular LGBTQ+ nightclub made a court appearance Wednesday in 4th Judicial District Court. Appearing virtually from the El Paso County jail, Aldrich was slumped over in a chair with visible wounds on their face.

Aldrich, 22, was injured while being subdued by two bystanders, Thomas James and Richard Fierro, inside of Club Q, police said.

Aldrich’s first in-person appearance in court is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 6. Judge Michael McHenry, who was the judge listed on the 2021 affidavit, will preside over future court proceedings for Aldrich.

Defense attorney Joseph Archambault requested that Judge Charlotte Ankeny change the first in-person court date because he may be unavailable. Ankeny said the date would remain unchanged, for now, because McHenry had no other dates available for the hearing.

However, Ankeny said the first appearance date still could be changed in the coming days if the court can find a new date.

The 2021 affidavit states that Aldrich’s grandparents were “living in fear due to Anderson’s recent homicidal threats towards them and others,” and that Aldrich bragged about wanting to “go out in a blaze.”

In a video believed to be a livestream of the incident obtained by The Gazette, a person believed to be Aldrich is seen wearing body armor and a helmet while toting what appears to be a rifle as that person moved between rooms. What appears to be a handgun on the bed comes into view as Aldrich directs expletives at deputies outside the home.

“If they breach, I’ma (expletive) blow it to holy hell,” Aldrich can be heard saying about law enforcement. “Go ahead and come on in, boys. Let’s (expletive) see it.”

New footage obtained by The Gazette shows events during a 2021 bomb threat that lead to the arrest of 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, whose name and age match that of the suspect arrested in Saturday’s Club Q shooting. In this screen recording provided by the owner of the house where Aldrich’s mother lived at the time of the threat, a man appears to be live-streaming the bomb threat while wearing body armor.

New footage obtained by The Gazette shows the events leading to the arrest of 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, whose name and age match that of the suspect arrested in Saturday’s Club Q shooting, in connection a June 2021 bomb threat reported by his mother in a Lorson Ranch neighborhood. Law enforcement officials investigating the Club Q shootings said Aldrich’s “interactions with law enforcement” are part of the broader investigation. Aldrich faced arrest-only charges of felony kidnapping and menacing in the incident, though no formal charges were pursued and his case was sealed, the District Attorney’s Office said.

The affidavit states that after Aldrich was arrested, the police requested a $1 million bond due to Aldrich’s “homicidal statements, actions, possessions of firearms and bomb making materials.”

Additionally, investigators requested a warrant to “prevent a reported planned terrorism attack,” and stated within the affidavit that Aldrich told his grandparents the bomb was powerful enough to “blow up a police department and a federal building.”

The alleged bomb threat took place on June 18, 2021, and the Sheriff’s Office said the then-21-year-old was accused of two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping. But no formal charges were pursued in the case, which has since been sealed, the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office told The Gazette.

It’s unclear why the case was dismissed, but Colorado law mandates that any dismissed case must be sealed by the court. Currently, there are no available public records for Aldrich’s 2021 case.

“I can’t specifically talk about what you’re asking about because of sealing statutes in the state of Colorado,” District Attorney Michael Allen said Wednesday after the court advisement, when asked to comment on the sealed 2021 case. “But I would just challenge you with the assumption that you made in the way that you asked that question. That’s the end of what I’m going to say about that particular incident.”

Aldrich was booked into the El Paso County jail Tuesday after being detained at the hospital following the shooting, according to police. Aldrich is facing 10 arrest-only charges — five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crimes causing bodily injury. They are being held without bond.

Following the advisement hearing, Allen said that Aldrich’s identity as nonbinary would not impact how the District Attorney’s Office prosecutes the case.

“His legal definition in this proceeding is ‘the defendant,’” Allen said.

Gazette reporter Brooke Nevins contributed to this report.