Credibility:

  • Original Reporting
  • Sources Cited
Original Reporting This article contains new, firsthand information uncovered by its reporter(s). This includes directly interviewing sources and research / analysis of primary source documents.
Sources Cited As a news piece, this article cites verifiable, third-party sources which have all been thoroughly fact-checked and deemed credible by the Newsroom in accordance with the Civil Constitution.
People gather during a vigil on Nov. 21 to mourn Daniel Aston, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump and Raymond Green Vance, who were killed during a shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun via Report for America)

Anderson Aldrich told their mother they were going to run an errand.

Instead, according to an arrest affidavit unsealed Wednesday, the 22-year-old headed to an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs wearing a ballistic vest and armed with an AR-15-style rifle and opened fire on patrons moments after arriving.

Police said Aldrich parked a 2005 gold Toyota Highlander “just feet from the entrance to the club,” walked into Club Q building and almost immediately started shooting on Nov. 19

A black-and-white still image included in the affidavit from surveillance footage recorded inside the club showed a bright muzzle flash from Aldrich’s rifle as the attack began. Police found a cartridge from an AR-15-style rifle in the front passenger seat of the SUV, the affidavit stated. Multiple rifle magazines were found inside the club.

The new details about the deadly attack were revealed in a five-page arrest affidavit that a judge agreed to unseal this week.

Aldrich, who was formally charged Tuesday with 305 counts, including first-degree murder and hate crimes, is accused of killing five people and injuring dozens inside the club. 

“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,” Colorado Springs detective Jason Gasper wrote in the affidavit. 

Aldrich, at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 260 pounds, walked in the club wearing a black baseball cap, a black shirt over a black T-shirt and blue jeans, police said.

Richard Fierro, one of the two Club Q patrons who subdued the shooter, told police the shooter appeared to have multiple rifle magazines because he heard the suspect reload after a volley of gunfire, the affidavit said. Fierro, a combat veteran, said he threw a magazine away from the shooter as he fought with the suspect on the ground. 

The affidavit says first responders initially thought Aldrich had been shot in the head given the injuries the suspect sustained after being beaten by Club Q patrons.

While in the hospital, two police officers overheard Aldrich tell the medical staff “sorry” and that they had been awake for four days, according to the affidavit. Court documents didn’t elaborate on what Aldrich meant.

Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, told police in an interview just before 4 a.m. the morning after the shooting she and Aldrich were scheduled to see a movie about 10 p.m. on Nov. 19. Instead, Aldrich left to go on an “errand” that would “only take 15 minutes,” Voepel told police. 

Aldrich, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, did not return.

Voepel said she did not see her 22-year-old child when they left and that she did not see if Aldrich took anything with them. She later realized her phone was missing. 

Voepel told police that Aldrich did not own any weapons aside from a folding pocket knife. 

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the FBI was warned about Aldrich a day before they were arrested in June 2021 for allegedly threatening to kill family members. The federal agency investigated Aldrich before closing its assessment of the suspected Club Q shooter because Aldrich was facing state charges stemming from the arrest. The charges were later dropped, however, and the case was sealed.

Aldrich is next due in court in February for a hearing to determine whether authorities have gathered enough evidence to proceed to trial. Aldrich is being held without bond at the El Paso County jail.

Olivia Prentzel

Olivia Prentzel is a general assignment writer for The Colorado Sun. Email: oliviaprentzel@coloradosun.com