The suspect accused of fatally shooting five people and wounding dozens more last month at a Colorado Springs nightspot told their mom on the night of the massacre that they were headed out to run a quick errand and would be back in 15 minutes, cops say.
Instead, he drove his gold Toyota Highlander to an LGBTQ bar called Club Q, donned a ballistic vest, and walked up to the front door, where he “opened fire indiscriminately at patrons inside,” according to CCTV images and new details included in an affidavit unsealed Wednesday evening.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was charged Tuesday with 305 counts including first-degree murder and bias-motivated crimes. When Aldrich was initially booked late last month, the booking photo showed extensive bruising to Aldrich’s face. The newly unsealed arrest affidavit says heroic bystanders beat Aldrich so badly while subduing him and waiting for cops to arrive that first responders initially believed Aldrich “may have sustained a gunshot wound to the head.”
Aldrich, who is described as “he” and “him” in the arrest affidavit and is listed as male in booking records, identifies as non-binary, their lawyers say. However, The Daily Beast viewed text messages Aldrich’s mother sent them on the day of the shooting, in which she used male pronouns when referring to Aldrich.
The affidavit includes a still frame from surveillance video recorded the night of the shooting, showing Aldrich getting to Club Q around 11:55 p.m. on Nov. 19.
“When Anderson exited the driver’s door of the vehicle, it was apparent that he was wearing a ballistic vest and was carrying an AR-15 style assault rifle. He entered the business and, after entering the business a short distance, he opened fire indiscriminately at patrons inside of the club.”
In another still frame included in the affidavit, Aldrich can be seen opening fire “almost immediately upon entering” Club Q.
“When I arrived on scene, I made note that there is a tremendous amount of blood, medical intervention debris and clothing items scattered directly outside of the club,” Det. Jason Gasper of the Colorado Springs PD wrote in the affidavit.
A detective on the scene peeked through the window of Aldrich’s “cluttered” vehicle, and spotted a “cartridge for an AR-15 style rifle (likely a .223 caliber) on the front right passenger seat,” the affidavit continues.
Cops arrived moments later and took Aldrich into custody without firing a single shot.
Aldrich was taken to a local hospital for their injuries, but detectives were “unable to speak with Anderson at that time because he was [REDACTED].” However, the affidavit says a sergeant and a cop posted outside the room where Aldrich was being treated “overheard Anderson tell medical staff he was sorry and he had been awake for four days.”
Shortly before 4 a.m., police showed up to speak with Laura Voepel, Aldrich’s mother, at her apartment.
“Laura advised she and Anderson were going to go to a movie at 2200 hours but Anderson left on an errand he told her would only take 15 minutes,” the affidavit states. “She said he did not provide her any other information. Laura said she did not see Anderson when he left and did not know if he took anything with him. Laura stated Anderson took her phone with him and she had not seen him since.”
Voepel, whose father is Randy Voepel, a Southern California MAGA Republican who lost his state assembly seat this year to a more moderate female candidate, insisted to detectives that Aldrich “did not have weapons other than a folding pocket knife,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit does not mention the fact that Voepel was herself arrested during the encounter, according to a summons obtained by The Daily Beast. Voepel, 45, allegedly became combative and refused to stop yelling after being warned by cops to quiet down, and is now facing two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Richard Fierro, an Army vet, said he was sitting with his family at a table near the stage at Club Q when he heard gunshots. According to the affidavit, Fierro told detectives that he saw a patron later identified as Navy sailor Thomas James, pull Aldrich to the ground and got up to go help. Fierro said he spotted a handgun on Aldrich and began “striking him anywhere he could.” He also told cops Aldrich “appeared to have multiple rifle magazines because he heard him re-load after the first volley of gunfire and even through [sic] a magazine away from the suspect when he was fighting with him on the ground.”
Last year, Aldrich was arrested on charges of felony menacing and first-degree kidnapping for allegedly threatening to blow up Voepel’s home. However, no explosives were found, and Aldrich was never prosecuted. (Aldrich’s guns were also not confiscated under Colorado’s red flag law, but authorities have thus far declined to specify why.)
Aldrich’s father is former-MMA-fighter-turned-porn-actor Aaron Franklin Brink, who has appeared in such films as My MILF Boss 8, I Wanna Get Titty Fucked, and Latina Slut Academy. His first reaction to the news that Aldrich had been involved in a shooting at an LGBTQ club, was relief that Aldrich was not gay.
“They started telling me about the incident, a shooting involving multiple people,” Brink said in an interview outside his San Diego home with CBS 8. “And then I go on to find out it’s a gay bar. I said, ‘God, is he gay?’ I got scared, ‘Shit, is he gay?’ And he’s not gay, so I said, ‘Phhhewww…’”
Brink abandoned Aldrich, who was born Nicholas Franklin Brink, when they were a young child, a relative told The Daily Beast. Aldrich later changed his name to Anderson Lee Aldrich to sever any ties to Brink, according to court documents.
“Minor wishes to protect himself + his future from his birth father + his criminal history,” states a notarized affidavit filed in a Texas court almost exactly a month before Aldrich turned 16. “Father has had no contact with minor for several years.”
Aldrich, Brink, and Voepel have long been deeply troubled, according to the relative, who asked that their name not be shared publicly.
“I don’t want anything to do with that part of the family,” the relative said. “They’ve always had issues, a lot of problems… I’m totally disgusted by that side of the family right now.”