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CO Club Shooting Suspect Changed Name, Faced Online Bullying

Years before he allegedly walked into a Colorado LGBTQ bar with an assault-style rifle, Anderson Lee Aldrich had a different name and a tumultuous past. Until age 15, he was known as Nicholas Brink, living in San Antonio. His parents separated when he was a toddler. When he was 12, his mother, Laura Voepel, was arrested for arson. She was found guilty of a lesser offense. At 15, he became the target of vicious online bullying in which insulting accusations were posted to a website, along with his name, photos and online aliases, reports the Washington Post. At some point, a YouTube account was created under his name, featuring a crude, profanity-laden animation under the title, “Asian homosexual gets molested.”

Brink asked a Texas court to change his name. Aldrich’s earlier existence as Nicholas Brink offers possible answers to key mysteries surrounding the suspected gunman. In June 2021, Aldrich was arrested for an alleged bomb threat, one that prompted a partial evacuation of the Colorado Springs neighborhood where his mother live. He was charged with kidnapping and felony menacing, but was never prosecuted. No bomb was found. Despite his run-in with the law, 17 months later Aldrich was in possession of at least one weapon, a long gun, which he allegedly used in targeting customers and employees inside a nightclub long seen as a safe haven for the city’s gay and lesbian communities. The mayor of Colorado Springs had said the shooting that killed five had “the trappings of a hate crime.” District Attorney Michael Allen said that Aldrich was likely to face murder and “bias-motivated” charges in connection with his arrest. Aldrich remained hospitalized Monday. Allen noted that in Colorado, the charges connected with killing people at the club “will likely carry life in prison without parole,” so the bias-related charges would not “elevate the potential sentence.”


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