The suspect in Saturday’s shooting at an LGBTQ bar was known as Nicholas Brink, more than six years ago before legally changing his name in an effort to sever “any ties to the birth father and his criminal history.” Court records show.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, who is accused of shooting five people and wounding 17 others last weekend at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, changed his current name in a Texas court in 2016 before he turned 16. filed a petition for adoption.
The petition, submitted by Brink’s grandparents – his legal guardians at the time – states that he had “not had contact for several years” with his father.
The Washington Post reported that Brink has been the subject of vicious online bullying as a teen in San Antonio. 15 months before requesting to change his name, a website featuring photos of Brink ridiculed him for his weight, lack of money, and interest in Chinese cartoons.
The Associated Press reported that the suspect’s father is a mixed martial arts fighter and pornography artist with an extensive criminal history, including a battery conviction against the alleged shooter’s mother, Laura Voepel, state and federal court records show. The father, Aaron F. Brink, served 21/2 years in prison for importing marijuana, according to public records.
Investigators are still trying to ascertain the motive for the attack.
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►Aldrich, who was beaten by club patrons to contain his rampage, was released from a hospital Tuesday and transferred to the El Paso County Jail, police said. He is scheduled for his first court appearance on Wednesday morning.
►The League of United Latin American Citizens is presenting its Presidential Medal of Freedom and $5,000 to a former Army soldier who helped stop the attack. The group’s president, Domingo Garcia, said Tuesday, “Rich Fierro … jumped into the crevice to put his body between (loved ones) and the enemies who might harm us.”
►Mourners hold candles and listen to speakers during the Club Q Remembrance and Radicalization Vigil Monday night in Colorado Springs.
► 13 people injured in the firing have been admitted to the hospital. Five were treated and discharged.
‘I shouldn’t be alive,’ survivor shoots back seven times
Some of the 17 people killed in Saturday’s stampede at an LGBTQ nightclub are recovering from their wounds and sharing harrowing stories of near-death experiences in what they saw as a safe space.
Barrett Hudson was shot seven times during his attempt to escape. He called his father and got ready to die. On Monday, he took his first steps after collapsing at Club Q in the early hours of Sunday.
“When they told me I had seven bullets in my back, I was like, ‘Okay, peace…'” he said in a post. “I can’t believe I’m alive. I shouldn’t be alive.”
Jericho Loveall, 30, scrambled to safety amid the chaos. Once outside, he realized he was bleeding. A bullet had entered the calf and exited the side of his leg. He went to a hospital, where doctors advised leaving the wound open so that the leg could naturally expel the shrapnel.
Loveall said of Club Q, “It was a place where you could go and be accepted, without judgement, without drama.” “For some of us, it was a second home.”
Suspect threatened to blow up house last year
Footage obtained by local media outlets including The Gazette in Colorado Springs shows Aldrich threatening to “blow up a house to holy hell” in a confrontation with police last year. In the video, shot during an alleged June 2021 bomb threat incident called by Aldrich’s mother, Aldrich shows himself walking through a house wearing body armor and a helmet.
“That’s your boy. I have (offensive) out there. Look over there. They put a bead on me. You see right there? The (offensive) took out their (offensive) rifles,” he said. So, uh, go ahead and come on in, boys.”
Aldrich eventually surrendered; The charges of kidnapping and intimidation were later dropped and the case was sealed.
Shooting leaves only one gay bar within an hour of Colorado Springs
Last weekend’s shooting in Colorado Springs denied LGBTQ people the few gathering places that cater to them in the conservative city, at a time when such spaces are dwindling nationally.
With the closure of the Colorado Springs Pride Center in 2015, Club Q and gay piano bar ICONS were the only establishments prioritizing central Colorado’s LGBTQ community.
“There isn’t another gay nightclub within an hour’s drive,” said Gregor Mattson, professor of sociology at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and author of the forthcoming book Who Needs Gay Bars. Bar-hopping through America’s endangered LGBTQ+ venues.
“I’ve traveled to communities like Colorado Springs that only have one and have seen how important it is. People will say they love seeing a rainbow flag place in town.”
All gay bars have closed nationwide in the last 20 years, Mattson said, for reasons that include gentrification, growing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, and the advent of smartphones and dating apps.
Army major who led effort to disarm gunman acted on instinct
The former US Army major who helped disarm the gunman says he acted on instinct. Rich Fierro, 45, said his only thought was to save his family. His wife and daughter survived him; Raymond Green Vance, her daughter’s boyfriend, was fatally shot.
“The guy came into the shooting. I smelled the cordite, I saw the flash. I dove, pinned my friend down… When I tried to get up, I saw the ACU, the armor plates,” he said of the gunman. Was wearing “I grabbed him behind his cheap armor thing and pulled him down.”
President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to Fierro in a phone call and thanked her “for her bravery,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing Tuesday.
Fierro says he wishes he could have done more to stop the suspect, who is 6-4 and 260 pounds, according to jail records.
“There are five people I couldn’t help but one of whom was family to me,” Fierro said.
The other patrolman who helped subdue the gunman was Thomas James, a Navy information systems technician stationed in Colorado Springs. A Navy statement said James was injured in the attack and his condition is said to be stable.
– Justin Ritter
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Two club bartenders, a mother among mourners
The details of those who did not survive the massacre are coming to the fore. The victims included 22-year-old Raymond Green Vance, whose girlfriend’s father was credited with overpowering the shooter and preventing the massacre; Ashley Pau, 35, a mom who helped find homes for foster children; Daniel Aston, 28, who worked as a bartender and entertainer at the club; Kelly Loving, 40, whose sister described her as “caring and sweet”; and Derrick Rump, 38, another club bartender known for his quick wit and adopting his friends as his own family.
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