A judge on Thursday unsealed documents in a 2021 dropped case against alleged Colorado Club Q shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich. The docs said the suspect had threatened to blow up the neighborhood, shoot their grandparents and become “the next mass killer.”
The case against Aldrich — who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns according to their attorneys — came after an hours-long standoff in June 2021 during which 10 surrounding homes were evacuated. Aldrich had boasted of their bomb-making proficiency and claimed to have a stockpile of ammunition and weapons, police documents said. The then 21-year-old event livestreamed the standoff on Facebook.
Aldrich was arrested that day and jailed on suspicion of felony fishing and kidnapping. The case was dismissed later, triggering a state law that mandates sealing dropped cases if there’s no prosecution. The law also prohibits law enforcement and other officials from even admitting the records exist.
In hindsight, those statements from last year presaged the mass shooting inside the LGBTQ nightclub last month. Five people died and 25 were injured when Aldrich apparently opened fire before being subdued by patrons as police arrived. Aldrich was formally charged on Tuesday with 305 criminal counts that included first-degree murder, attempted murder and other hate crimes, and is being held without bail.
The dismissal and sealing of documents likely explains why Aldrich was able to possess guns despite red flag laws that would have otherwise blocked his access to firearms. Moreover, the FBI revealed Thursday it had received a tip about the danger Aldrich potentially posed the day before the bomb incident, on June 17, 2021. The agency did not reveal anything about the information provided, or its source, and closed the case weeks later.
The day after the FBI received the tip, Aldrich’s grandparents fled their Colorado Springs home and called 911 to report their grandchild was building a bomb in the basement and had threatened to kill the couple. An arrest affidavit indicated that Aldrich had been upset by the grandparents’ planned move to Florida because it would hinder the alleged shooter’s mass-shooting and bombing scheme.
All other details of the case remained sealed until Thursday, when Judge Robin Chittum overrode the objections of Aldrich’s mother and their lawyers to make the documents public. In this case, Chittum said, the public interest outweighed privacy concerns, given that allowing scrutiny of judicial cases is “foundational to our system of government.”
Aldrich’s attorney, public defender Joseph Archambault, acknowledged the public had an interest in the case but felt that his client’s right to a fair trial could be jeopardized if those other documents came to light.
“This will make sure there is no presumption of innocence,” Archambault said.
With News Wire Services