Police name suspect in ‘heartbreaking’ Colorado Springs shooting
A video purporting to show Colorado Springs shooting suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, during a bomb threat encounter with police has surfaced.
Mr Lee was named as the suspect in the mass shooting at an LGBT+ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday which left at least five people dead and 18 injured has been charged with five counts of murder and five counts of bias-motivated crimes causing bodily injury, which are class-5 felony charges.
It was also revealed that the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is the grandson of Republican Assemblyman Randy Voepel of California. Mr Voepel espouses MAGA ideology and called the Captiol riot to the “Lexington and Concord” battle of the American Revolution.
The suspect was arrested in June 2021 after his mother told officers that he was threatening her with a homemade bomb and other weapons.
Colorado prosecutors declined to explicitly confirm the connection, saying only that the incident in 2021 was “all part of the investigation and will be released as appropriate”.
Mr Aldrich stormed inside the nightclub and opened fire on the patrons, before “two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought” with him according to chief Adrian Vasquez. He reportedly carried an AR-15-style rifle. Two firearms were recovered from the scene.
Police responded within minutes after several 911 calls from the scene just before midnight on Saturday, when the club hosted drag performances and a DJ the day before the club would commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Mike Pence backed away from anti-LGBT figures before Colorado shooting
Former vice president Mike Pence appeared to take a step back from his party’s hard-right wing stand in an interview that was taped just days before the deadly attack at a gay nightclub that has been blamed on a rising tide of anti-LGBT hate.
Mr Pence was interviewed by Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Face the Nation this past week; his remarks were broadcast on Sunday.
During the interview, he was asked about the legislation which was passed by the US Senate this week, seeking to protect the rights of same-sex marriages at the federal level.
Unlike other conservatives in his party, Mr Pence seemed to back away from the rhetoric that has been embraced by many far-right commentators such as Matt Walsh, Chris Rufo, and Tucker Carlson seeking to link LGBT+ Americans to pedophilia.
John Bowden has more.
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 22:40
Drag dancer ‘stomped on gunman with her high heels’
The man who led the fight to subdue the gunman has described how Club Q patrons and performers rallied to his side as he wrestled the attacker to the floor.
Richard M Fierro, an Army veteran who was sitting at a table with his wife, daughter, and friends when the attack began, told The New York Times that he had gone into “combat mode”.
“I don’t know exactly what I did… I just [knew] I have to kill this guy before he kills us,” Mr Fierro said. After hitting the floor to avoid the bullets, he raced across the room, threw the gunman to the floor, and wrestled a pistol out of his hand.
Struggling with the shooter, screaming at each other, Mr Fierro called for help – and other patrons responded. One man grabbed the rifle and took it out of reach, while a drag dancer began stomping on the intruder with her high heels.
Io Dodds21 November 2022 22:36
What about Colorado’s ‘red flag’ law?
Colorado has gun laws that are supposed to prevent dangerous people from being able to buy guns. Could they have stopped this shooting?
The Rocky Mountain state imposes background checks on all gun sales, restricts gun ownership for certain people convicted of domestic violence, and a red flag law that allows judges to seize guns from people deemed dangerous.
A man with the same name and age as the suspect, Anderson Lee Aldrich, was arrested last June for making bomb threats against his mother, which in theory might trigger one of these laws. But authorities dropped the case for unknown reason.
The red flag law, which came into effect on 1 January 2020, allows citizens and police officers to petition a judge to grant an “extreme risk protection order” against a gun owner they believe to be dangerous, forcing them to hand over their weapons for between 14 days and one year.
But an investigation by KUSA News found that only 60 per cent of these petitions are granted, a figure which drops to 32 per cent when they were filed by citizens rather than police officers.
Moreover, El Paso county – where Mr Aldrich was arrested last year – has declared itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary” and said it will not enforce the red flag law unless a crime was involved.
We don’t yet know how the shooter got his weapons.
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 22:20
Northeastern State University releases statement lamenting ‘tragic murder’ of former student Daniel Aston, who was killed in Club Q shooting
Northeastern State University released a statement lamenting the “tragic murder” of former student Daniel Aston, 28, who was among the five killed in a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs on Saturday.
The university’s statement said it was “deeply saddened” by the news.
Dan P. Mabery, the vice president for university relations, said Mr Aston was an active member in the Oklahoma university’s LGBT student community and organisations.
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 22:00
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib points out ‘rhetoric has consequences,’ highlighting bills pushed to ‘demonize’ LGBT people
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib took to Twitter on Monday to point out that more than 300 bills that “demonize” LGBT people have been introduced by conservatives, and of those 22 has pased.
“State legislators nationwide have introduced 344 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this year alone, & 25 of them have passed. These bills demonize LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender youth, preventing them from accessing medical care or playing sports with friends. Rhetoric has consequences,” she wrote.
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 21:40
Police did not pursue charges against suspected Club Q shooter after 2021 bomb threat
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that police in the city did not pursue charges against Anderson Lee Aldrich, whose name and age match that of the man police believe shot and killed five people and injured 18 others in a mass shooting at Club Q in the city.
Mr Aldrich was arrested and charged with two counts of felony menacing and three counts of first-degree kidnapping after a 2021 standoff with police that resulted from him allegedly making a bomb threat. Prosecutors never followed up on those charges, according to the paper.
The suspect in the Club Q shooting is currently hospitalised and has reportedly not been speaking to investigators.
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 21:20
Final two victims in Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs identified
The final two victims in the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs have been identified by law enforcement.
Ashley Paugh, a mother of one, and Raymond Green were identified by police as victims in the shooting.
Ms Paugh did not identify as a member of the LGBT community but was visiting the club to see a comedian, according to her sister Stephanie Clark, who spoke with NBC News.
“It just doesn’t seem real,” Ms Clark told the outlet. “We’re heartbroken. We’re sad. We’re mad, angry.”
More information on Mr Green will be shared when it becomes available.
Bevan Hurley has more at The Independent’s story below:
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 21:00
What we know about the shooting suspect
Police officers responded to the scene shortly after midnight after 911 dispatchers received “numerous” calls that there was an active shooter inside the club.
On Sunday morning, Colorado Springs Police identified the suspected shooter as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich.
He was hospitalised with undisclosed injuries.
Here’s what we know so far:
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 21:00
Colorado governor orders flags to be flown at half mast to honour victims
Colorado Governor Jared Polis has ordered flags in the state to be flown at half mast for five days in memory of the five people killed in the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs.
Five people were killed and another 18 were injured in a mass shooting on Saturday. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was named as a suspect in the shooting. He is currently recovering in the hospital and has reportedly not spoken with investigators.
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 20:40
Colorado Springs police chief says shooting suspect has not spoken to investigators
Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, who was named as the suspect in a shooting that killed five people at an LGBT club in the city, was not speaking with investigators.
The suspect is currently still hospitlalised.
During a Monday press conference, Mr Vasquez was asked if the suspect was being cooperative with law enforcement.
“I haven’t heard that he has not been cooperative, just simply that he is — has determined not to — to speak to investigators,” Mr Vasquez said.
Graig Graziosi21 November 2022 20:25