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.
Joshua was inside Club Q when the gunman entered. He ran and hid. Heard the gunman being “beat up.” Tells @BeedieonTV “This was our only safe space in The Springs. Where are we gonna go?”#LGBTQ #ClubQ pic.twitter.com/ZkijarxZoc
— Josh Helmuth KRDO (@Jhelmuth) November 20, 2022
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.
New: The Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooter is reportedly the grandson of MAGA Republican representative Randy Voepel, who supported the January 6 insurrection and compared it to the Revolutionary War.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) November 21, 2022
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.
Anderson Lee Aldrich and mom Laura Voepel.. grandson to Republican state assembly member Randy Voepel 71st district in the San Diego area.. Trump supporter, election denier and defender of Jan 6 insurrectionists. pic.twitter.com/WWDaGjc7fb
— Reggie Mckenzie (@ReggieMckenzi10) November 21, 2022
Anderson Lee Aldrich, grandson of a MAGA State Assemblymember, is the 22 year-old suspect accused of carrying out a deadly mass shooting at a LGBTQ+ club in #ColoradoSprings. The killings follow months of attacks, death threats + anti-LGBTQ bills in Colorado + beyond. A thread. pic.twitter.com/W8pVlyDe3g
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) November 21, 2022
.@laurenboebert you have played a major role in elevating anti-LGBT+ hate rhetoric and anti-trans lies while spending your time in Congress blocking even the most common sense gun safety laws.
You don’t get to “thoughts and prayers” your way out of this. Look inward and change. https://t.co/mxt6wFMVEv
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 20, 2022
This you? https://t.co/QObo5GAsNC
— Leland Hermit (@AngeloBCollie) November 20, 2022
This is exactly how 22 year old Anderson Lee Aldrich was groomed to become the Colorado Springs killer as he was raised in a MAGA family to love guns and hate gays. pic.twitter.com/tgsHeukFY7
— Greta (@GretaGrace20) November 21, 2022
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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