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Colorado Springs shooting: What’s known about the suspect

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Colorado Springs, Colorado –

The suspect in the shooting deaths of five people at a gay nightclub in Colorado changed his name as a teenager more than six years ago and entered the Texas law because he wanted to “protect himself” from his criminal father. filed a petition.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who has been charged with murder and hate crime, was known as Nicholas Brink until 2016. His name change petition was filed on Brink’s behalf by his grandparents who were Brink’s legal guardians at the time.

“The minor wants to protect himself and his future from ties to his birth father and his criminal record. The father has had no contact with minors for several years,” the petition said. The boy’s mother and father signed an affidavit agreeing to the name change, Bexar County, Texas records show.

The suspect’s father was a mixed martial arts fighter and pornography performer, and has an extensive criminal record, including a conviction for assault against the suspect’s mother, Laura Volpe, according to state and federal court records. According to public records, his father, Aaron F. Brink, served two and a half years in prison for importing marijuana.

The name change request comes months after Aldrich was apparently the target of online bullying. A June 2015 post on his website of him attacking a boy named Nick Brink suggests he may have been bullied in high school. The post included a photo resembling the shooting suspect and ridiculed Brink’s weight, lack of money and interest in Chinese cartoons.

In addition, a YouTube account was opened in Brink’s name containing an animation titled “Asian Gays Being Molested”.

The motive for Saturday’s shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs is still under investigation, but details revealed about the suspect suggest a turbulent background. The name change and bullying were first reported by The Washington Post.

Aldrich was tackled and beaten by bar patrons during the attack and suffered 17 other gunshot wounds. He has been charged with five counts of bodily injury.

Police said Tuesday that Aldrich was released from the hospital and is being held in the El Paso County Jail.

Last year, he was arrested after his mother reportedly threatened her with homemade bombs and other weapons. A doorbell ringing video obtained by the Associated Press shows that on the day of the 2021 bomb threat, Aldrich arrived at his mother’s front door with a large black bag, telling him the police were nearby and saying, “This is where I stand.” This is the place where I am, and today I will die,” he added.

At the time, officials said no explosives were found, but gun control advocates asked why police didn’t use Colorado’s “red flags” law to seize the weapon the mother was carrying. rice field.

The weekend attacks took place at a nightclub known as a sanctuary for the LGBTQ2S+ community in this mostly conservative city of about 480,000 people about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Denver.

A longtime Club Q patron who was shot in the back and thigh said the club’s reputation was targeted. He said he is contemplating what he would do in the event of a mass shooting, following the massacre of 49 people at Gay nightclub Pulse.

“I think this incident highlights the fact that LGBTQ2S+ people need to be loved,” said Sanders, 63, who wore a hospital gown with an oxygen tube in her nose. I want to get back on my feet. I’m a survivor. I’m not going to be taken away by a sick person.”

Hate crime prosecutions require proof that the shooter was motivated by prejudice, such as prejudice against the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The charges against Aldrich are preliminary and prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges.

Court documents relating to Aldrich’s arrest have been sealed at the request of prosecutors. He is being represented by Joseph Archambault, chief judge of the state public defender’s office. Lawyers in the office do not comment on the case to the media.

Local and federal officials have refused to answer questions about why hate crime accusations are being considered. pointed out that it would.

“However, it is important to let the community know that we do not tolerate bigotry crimes in this community and that we are supporting communities that have been slandered, harassed, intimidated and abused,” Allen said, adding additional charges. added that could occur.

The attack was stopped by two club-goers, including Richard Fierro, who told reporters that he received a handgun from Aldrich, hit him with it, and pinned him down with the help of another.

Fierro, a former army major who now owns a local brewery, said the suspect “came to the scene of the shooting” as he was celebrating his birthday with his family. Fierro ran toward the suspect, who was wearing some sort of body armor and listed as 260 pounds and 6 foot 4 in prison records, and pulled him away before severely beating him until police arrived. fell down.

Although his actions saved lives, Fierro said the deaths, including that of his daughter’s boyfriend, were a tragedy for Fierro and the wider community.

“There were five people I couldn’t help, one of whom was my family.

Another patron who stepped in was Thomas James, a Navy information systems technician stationed in Colorado Springs, according to a biography released by the Navy. A Navy spokesperson said Tuesday that James has recovered from unspecified injuries and is in stable condition.

Fierro said a third party also helped and kicked the suspect in the head.

The victim was Raymond Green Vance, 22, a Colorado Springs native who was saving up to buy his own apartment. Ashley Paugh, 35 years old. A mother who helped find a home for her foster child. Daniel Aston, 28, used to work as a bartender and entertainer at a club. Kelly Loving, 40. Her sister described her as “caring and kind”. and 38-year-old Derrick Lamp, a club bartender known for his wit.

Law enforcement officials said the suspect used an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. A handgun and additional ammunition racks were also recovered. Officials could not discuss details of the investigation publicly, he told AP on condition of anonymity.

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Bedayn is a member of the Associated Press/Reports for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover hidden issues.

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Associated Press reporters include Bernard Condon of New York, Colleen Slevin of Denver, Jake Breeberg of Dallas, Amy Folity of Minneapolis, Matthew Brown of Billings, Montana, Jill Breed of Little Rock, Arkansas, and New York news researcher Rhonda Schaffner contributed.

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